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Humanitarian assistance to be scaled-up for Venezuelans

The United Nations humanitarian wing launched a new Response Plan (HRP) on Wednesday, that aims to help around 2.6 million people in Venezuela through to the end of the year, almost half of whom are youth.

Noting that the plan “only represents a limited number of all people in need”, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said that $223 million was required from donors, to achieve this goal.

A collective effort to coordinate and intensify the ongoing humanitarian response, the plan aims to significantly mitigate the impact of the crisis on the country’s most vulnerable populations.

Tensions across Venezuela started escalating at the end of January, when Juan Guaidó, head of the country’s National Assembly, challenged the legitimacy of sitting President Nicolás Maduro and was declared interim president by the National Assembly. President Maduro has been in power since 2013 and was sworn in again for a second term on 10 January, following disputed elections boycotted by the opposition.

“The HRP includes 1.2 million girls and boys, in the areas of health, water, sanitation and hygiene, food security, nutrition, protection, shelter and non-food items and education”, Peter Grohmann, Humanitarian Coordinator for Venezuela, said in the strategy’s foreword.

During the first half of 2019, the UN set up a coordination system to increase humanitarian response capacities that included national and international non-governmental humanitarian organizations (NGOs) and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement as an observer, with OCHA lending overarching support.

“This HRP provides an internationally recognized framework for a principled, transparent, well-coordinated and effective response, targeting the most vulnerable people”, said the newly designated Humanitarian Coordinator, who leads the humanitarian country team. “I urgently call on donors to support this plan”.

At the same time, Mr. Grohmann also called on the Venezuelan Government, society and the international community “to work together and jointly commit to helping Venezuelans in need of assistance, including by creating consensus on ways to finance the plan”.

By strengthening the capacity of humanitarian organizations and further opening the operational space in country, the HRP lays the foundation to enlarge its response next year to reach a larger portion of the population.

While its operational capacities are on target to deliver, the HRP is “modest in terms of responding to the scale of needs”, Mr. Grohmann maintained, adding that the plan would be revised and expanded next year, “based on new available information on needs and capacities”.


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