UK donates £6.5m health aid to Venezuela

15 Feb 19

The UK has donated £6.5m to deliver medicines and clean water to people affected by the crisis in Venezuela.

Hyperinflation in Venezuela hit an all-time high of one million percent at the end of last year, which resulted in economic collapse in the country and many people being unable to afford enough food to feed themselves.

This has forced millions of people to flee to neighbouring countries.

The additional funding from the UK, which has been taken from the Department for International Development’s crisis reserve, will support emergency rooms and maternity wards, provide vaccines and vital nutrition for children, and help set up mobile health clinics for refugees.

It will also help give migrants access to personal documentation and information on how to access basic services.

Penny Mordaunt, international development secretary, said the money would “provide life-saving treatment to malnourishes children, immunisations against deadly diseases and access to clean water and sanitation”.

Further economic and policy turmoil in the country was caused when the Western governments, including the EU, the US and the UK, recognised Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s head of state last month. He declared himself interim president after disputed elections won by the socialist president Nicolas Maduro, who was also sworn in for a second term last month. 

Maduro has said he would not allow any aid into the country, as it would be a means for the US to intervene in Venezuela. This has led to shortages in food and children are starving. 

Guaido has said new collection points and routes into the country would allow volunteers to bring the aid in.

Mordaunt said: “I am deeply disturbed by the awful scenes of suffering in Venezuela as a result of the Maduro regime’s reckless mismanagement, with families resorting to eating rotting food to try to survive.”

The UK aid money will go to humanitarian agencies working across the region. The Venezuelan government has denied the country is facing a crisis and humanitarian agencies are struggling to provide support to all the people in need.

The UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund, to which the UK was the largest donor in 2018, has allocated a total of $26m to the region for this crisis, including $9m within Venezuela.

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