Venezuela - September 2020

Situation Report
Background

Situation Overview

As of 10 November, Venezuelan authorities confirmed 95,445 COVID-19 cases, 834 deaths, as well as 90,359 recovered. According to the authorities, the rate of daily confirmed cases declined last month. Between 19 and 25 October, there was a 55.8 per cent decrease in average reported cases per day (418) compared to September (946 cases per day).

Diagnostic capacity using PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests has increased progressively. In September, it is estimated that about 4,000 PCR tests were performed daily, an increase of 150 per cent in-crease compared to July. Authorities with the support of PAHO/WHO continue to strengthen diagnostic capacity in the short term.   

On 23 October, PAHO/WHO reported the arrival of 340,000 antigen-detection diagnostic tests and 35 reading devices, to perform confirmatory diagnoses in all states and obtain quicker results. The new antigen diagnostic tests are very accurate in symptomatic patients and detect, in only 30 minutes, if some-one is infected. PAHO/WHO estimates that with these tests and equipment, between 3,000 and 4,000 additional tests could be performed daily.

The State of Emergency and quarantine measures were extended for 30 days until 12 November. The National Institute of Civil Aviation extended the restriction on air operations throughout the country until 12 November excluding cargo, humanitarian, repatriation, postal, or UN authorized flights.

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has projected a 26 per cent contraction of the Venezuelan economy in 2020, due to the global drop in oil prices caused by the COVID-19 crisis, the drop in oil production, fiscal and external restrictions, the economic effects of social distancing measures and fuel supply challenges. These factors affect the livelihoods, incomes and purchasing power of the most vulnerable households.  In 2020, inflation in the different areas converged towards rates close to 2,000 per cent, including food. However, the minimum wage had a real fall of more than 30 per cent compared to the end of 2019.

Mixed mobility of people between Venezuela and neighboring countries continues. The flow of returnees continues, although to a lesser extent. As of 20 October, a total of 135,590 returnees entered the country, mostly through the state of Tachira. Less returnees through official border crossings has reduced the need for and pressure on the Points of Comprehensive Social Assistance (PASI). There are currently 11 active PASIs in Tachira state, 14 in Bolivar, 9 in Zulia, 4 in Apure, and 2 in Amazonas.

According to recent reports Venezuelans are leaving the country using irregular crossings, encouraged in part by the relaxation of quarantine measures in neighboring countries. Reports show protection needs and risks faced by people leaving Venezuela, both towards the border and through irregular crossings.

Several states in the country continue reporting limitations in access to water, electricity, gas and tele-communications services. Some improvement has been reported in fuel distribution in Caracas, but it remains a challenge in most states, including for humanitarian actors.

The rainy season continues to cause overflowing of rivers and flooding of communities in several states of the country. On 12 October, heavy rains in Aragua state caused the overflowing of the Turmero, Blanco, El Limon, Coropo, Aragua and Madre Vieja rivers, as well as the El Manguito Gorge and a considerable increase in the water level of Lake Valencia, affecting the communities south of Maracay, Aragua state. Health personnel, Civil Protection and other authorities conducted field activities and monitoring in the affected areas. On 16 October, according to preliminary damage assessments, local authorities estimated between 5,800 and 6,000 homes affected, mainly in the municipalities of Girardot, Linares Alcantara and Mariño. Rainfall continues to affect Tachira state. According to local authorities, the heavy rains since 7 November left at least 2 deaths. There were reports of some 50 homes being lost, some 500 homes damaged and over 7,500 people affected in 6 municipalities. The city of Rubio, in the municipality of Junin, was the most affected, where the flooded waters of the Carapo River impacted San Die-go, El Cafetal, La Palmita, Santa Barbara, El Rosal, El Cañaveral, Los Corredores and El Matadero areas.  Local authorities declared the State of Emergency, and the local sport facility was habilitated as a shelter to accommodate the affected people.

The National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (INAMEH) and Civil Protection continue to monitor the situation and local authorities, with support from the national Government, initiated the response. The priority activities are the re-establishment of water and electricity services, water drainage, debris removal to clear roadways and the provision of supplies and equipment.

On 27 October, the national Government allowed the registration of international non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The registration certificate is renewable for one year. The resolution does not pro-vide operational and logistical details. It is expected to provide an operational environment where inter-national NGOs can expand their humanitarian operations in Venezuela.

As of 10 November, the humanitarian response coordinated by the UN in Venezuela has received around US$214.4 million to respond to humanitarian needs. A total of $138.4 million of this funding has been mobilized through the Humanitarian Response Plan, representing 18.1 per cent of the funds required for its full implementation. Despite a significant increase in funding in recent months, the Humanitarian Response funding gap remains the main constraint for a response commensurate to meeting the needs.

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