The Situation in the Target Geographic Area
Today, Venezuela is a failed state experiencing its worst economic crisis. Venezuelans are struggling to survive in a country with escalating criminal and political violence, and with the world’s highest annual inflation rate of 46,305%, and a minimum salary of $1.79 (5.196.000 Bolivars) per month.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Venezuela’s inflation will skyrocket to 1 million % by the end of 2018 as the government continues to print money to cover a growing budget hole.
Venezuelans’ livelihoods have been degraded to such an extent, that the very poor have no means to cope as everything is failing. They have lost everything, jobs, healthcare, their family, and many have lost their home. It is almost impossible to find the needed medicine and basic food items. People are searching in trash cans for food. Consequently, children are suffering from malnutrition, treatable diseases are starting to spread, and patients are dying in contaminated hospitals. The average Venezuelan lost 24 pounds last year and only eats one meal a day.
Venezuela is facing severe shortages of basic goods, including food.
- The country’s health system is close to collapse.
- The crisis has led to critical shortages of drugs and rise in chronic diseases, as well as malaria and diphtheria, because there are no vaccines in the country.
- Only 38 % of essential drugs included in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) list exist in Venezuela.
- According to Human Rights Watch, 88% of hospitals in Venezuela lack basic medicines
- Only 30 % of drugs for basic infectious diseases are available in public hospitals.
- According to Caritas, child malnutrition is present across four states, including the capital, Caracas.
- The latest figures show that 11.4% of children under five are suffering either from moderate to severe acute malnutrition, according to a Caritas survey done in four states.
- In some places that Caritas surveyed, the child malnutrition level was as high as 13 %, which is above the 10 %of the crisis threshold for child malnutrition as indicated by the World Health Organization.
- Human Rights Watch obtained an internal report by the Ministry of Health with a rate of maternal mortality at 130.7 deaths for every 100,000 births between January and May 2016.
- The 2016 rate is 79 % higher than the most recent rate reported by the Venezuelan government, in 2009, which was 73.1. Between 2003 and 2008, the rate was between 49.9 and 64.8.
- A second internal Ministry of Health report indicates that that rate of infant mortality in Venezuela, for the first five months of 2016, was 18.61 deaths per 1,000 live births. This figure is 21 % higher than the rate of 15.4 that the government reported to the United Nations in 2015; and 45 % higher than the rate of 12.8 % reported for 2013. The infant mortality rate was 11.6 in 2011 and 11.8 in 2012.
- Caritas Venezuela warns that 280,000 children could die of malnutrition.
- Human Rights Watch reported a rise of infant mortality of 30% in 2016.
- Human Rights Watch also reported that 8 out of 10 households are food insecure.
These imploding economic and social collapse has led thousands of Venezuelans to leave their crippled country in a massive exodus creating in one of the worst refugee crisis in Latin American history. This humanitarian crisis is only compared to the flow of Syrians into Western Europe in 2015. And, just as in that crisis, countries overwhelmed by the flood of new arrivals are beginning to close their doors. This is the situation:
- 1.5 million people have fled the country in attempts to save themselves and their families.
- 819,034 estimated Venezuelan in Colombia (Administrative Registry of Venezuelan Migrants in Colombia (RAMV).
- 40,000 estimated Venezuelans in Brazil
- 93,000 estimated Venezuelans in Ecuador
- 350,000 estimated food-insecure
- In 2015, that number was just 5,605, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is unsustainable. It is critical that international organizations begin a full-scale response to help the people of Venezuela overcome this underreported and devastating humanitarian crisis.