People in Need Announces SOS Collection to Aid Venezuelans
Praha, Caracas, 12 June 2019 – Because of the worsening political situation in Venezuela and the resulting humanitarian crisis, which is reflected in an acute shortage of food, medicine, and water, People in Need has launched the SOS Venezuela collection to help those population groups that are particularly at risk. Through an existing network of partnering non-profit organizations, the collected funds will be used in the country to provide aid to, for example, people without access to medical care and families suffering from a critical lack of food.
“The whole society is falling into an increasingly deeper social and humanitarian crisis. The distress currently faced by the majority of people in this once rich, free, and successful country is shattering,” says People in Need Director Šimon Pánek. “But the threat posed to the health and life of particularly at-risk groups – mothers with children, the poor living in social exclusion, chronically ill and often entirely abandoned senior citizens, and individuals with special needs or living with a disability – is indisputable. All of them, and many others as well, have less chance to adapt during a period of crisis than do others, and it is specifically these groups that we will help through various Venezuelan organizations and active groups, usually comprising young people and students.”
SOS Venezuela to follow previous support in the country
People in Need has been helping in Venezuela since 2014 within the context of a program supporting human rights and an independent civil society. As a result, it has a network of partnering non-profit organizations on location as well as a small but stable team. During the five years of its activities in the country, and also thanks to the donations received from Czech contributors, People in Need has provided aid to such projects as a legal center that helps people persecuted for political reasons, as well as to the independent radio station Humanos Derechos, which is today self-sufficient and provides a high-quality alternative to the state-controlled media. As a part of the Música por Medicinas cultural event, PiN made it possible to exchange old music cassettes for otherwise hard to obtain medications. The organization also supported a series of reports, focused on the stories of Venezuelan political prisoners, which was put together by journalists from the La Vida De Nos initiative and subsequently reached the final round of the competition for the prestigious Gabriel García Marquéz Journalism Award. According to Albor Rodríguez of La Vida De Nos, “People in Need is the first international organization that placed confidence in us, moreover at the time when the project was in its early days. People in Need is also providing support to civic education at universities within the framework of another long-term project.
Disfunctional hospitals and schools
However, because of the current crisis, the organizations with which we collaborate see the need to also provide socially humanitarian aid. The healthcare system in Venezuela is currently in a state of collapse. Not only is there a lack of the drugs and healthcare materials required to perform surgery as well as standard examinations, there is also a shortage of personnel. “The more than three million people who have left the country during the past four years include many doctors and even more nurses,” explains Lucia Argüellová, Head of the People in Need’s Latin American Program. Inadequate medical care has the greatest impact on critically ill people, senior citizens, and people with various types of disabilities. Waste collection is also failing, which contributes to contamination and the spread of bacteria.
Frequent power and running water outages cause an enormous problem. In some districts, there has sometimes been no running water for as long as a month, which has many consequences, such as schools being forced to close. This endangers education and may lead to long-term consequences particularly for children from impoverished areas and socially excluded locations.
When it comes to providing aid on site, People in Need can rely on its long-term local partners. “Civil society is very strong and cohesive in Venezuela. Non-governmental organizations address many issues, from protecting the indigenous peoples and supporting gender equality to caring for people in impoverished regions,” adds Lucia Argüellová. “Moreover, they work closely together and mutually support each other. It is because of them that it is possible to provide aid in many areas of the country, because humanitarian aid from outside is otherwise significantly blocked by the regime.”
People in Need wants to use the SOS Venezuela collection to help specific people for whom the current crisis represents a serious threat to their health or lives. Our partnering organizations will use the collected money in the field to address the health and social problems faced by at-risk individuals in their area. Should the situation dramatically deteriorate, we are prepared to adapt the aid according to actual needs and the security situation.
Support our collection directly by sending your contribution to
bank account no. 5194 5194 / 0300, IBAN: CZ9403000000000051945194, BIC/SWIFT: CEKOCZPP
For more information, please contact:
Lucia Argüellová, Head of the People in Need’s Latin American Program, firstname.lastname@example.org
Zuzana Gruberová, Media Coordinator, People in Need’s Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, email@example.com, +420 770 101 144