Read caption A man pushes his car that has run out of petrol in Puerto Ordaz. The lack of access to fuel is a serious problem for most Venezuelans, and for many businesses it means they can not longer operate. It is common to wait for 4-5 days in line for fuel, and the government is limiting how many litres each buyer can purchase. Photo: Ingebjørg Kårstad/NRC

Global funding appeal offers hope to vulnerable Venezuelans

Published 14. Aug 2019
Millions of vulnerable people in Venezuela could be handed a vital lifeline following today’s launch of the UN Humanitarian Response Plan, which is seeking $223 million to reach 2.6 million people in need. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is urging donor countries to support the appeal and for the Government of Venezuela to grant humanitarian agencies unrestricted access to reach those desperately in need.

“Thousands of men, women and children have suffered in Venezuela for long enough without international support. Now is the time to show solidarity with the people of Venezuela and offer assistance in their darkest hour. If properly implemented, this plan can be a significant breakthrough in the work to assist millions affected by the crisis. International donor countries must now step up and provide the necessary funding for life-saving relief without tying their support to any political agenda,” said Egeland.

A combination of acute socio-economic issues and a lack of political solutions has left people without access to food, health services, clean water and education. The Humanitarian Response Plan for 2019 highlights the need for both humanitarian assistance and protection for people living in violent areas.

Joseides Urbaneja (21) is mourning the death of her nine-month-old baby, who passed away after she failed to received adequate medical treatment. “The problems started right after she was born, with diarrhoea and vomiting. She kept losing weight. We tried to take her to the doctor, but the cost of the treatment was so high we couldn’t do anything,” she told NRC staff. 

Around four million people have already fled due to deteriorating conditions inside Venezuela. However, the long and challenging migration route has left displaced Venezuelans even more vulnerable. One of the most crucial challenges they face in a different country is obtaining some form of official status that allows them to get a job, send their children to school, and access important services like healthcare.

The situation in Venezuela is like a vice that is tightened and tightened, leaving people in all layers of the society with fewer and fewer options,” said Egeland. “Those that were in a difficult situation before the crisis are now dependent on assistance to survive, while those with some financial resources are looking for options to leave,” he added.

NRC welcomes opportunities for cooperation and partnerships between humanitarian actors and the government of Venezuela, and also highlights the need for concrete and immediate steps to lift the current constraints on humanitarian work in the country.

“Humanitarian organisations should be allowed to import and transport necessary goods into the country, also through the Colombian border, and be allowed to use foreign currency to facilitate a more effective delivery of assistance. In addition, the Government should allow more experienced international aid organisations to operate in the country, so that together we can reach more Venezuelans in dire need,” Egeland concluded.

Note to Editors
  • The UN Humanitarian Response Plan can be downloaded here.
  • Photos can be downloaded for free use here.
  • The Norwegian Refugee Council has been present in Venezuela since 2005 providing legal protection, WASH, education and food security services. We are operating in line with the humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence, which means that our sole purpose is to provide assistance to those most in need to alleviate human suffering. The actions of NRC are not, and will not be associated with any political agenda.  
For more information, please contact:
  • NRC’s media hotline: +47 905 62 329, info@nrc.no.
  • Jan Egeland is available for interview.