Over 1 Million Children Out of School in Venezuela: UNICEF

3 June 2019: People pass in front of street graffiti in Caracas, Venezuela. The text reads: “The footprints of those who travel together will never be erased.” Photo: UNICEF
3 June 2019: People pass in front of street graffiti in Caracas, Venezuela. The text reads: “The footprints of those who travel together will never be erased.” Photo: UNICEF

UNICEF appealed for more than US$70 million to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to 900,000 children across Venezuela through the end of the year. According to UNICEF, new funding in the coming weeks is essential to meet the critical humanitarian needs of children and families inside the country.

“Some 3.2 million children in Venezuela need humanitarian aid as conditions across the country continue to deteriorate,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “We are ramping up our work to help children and families who are struggling against food shortages and limited access to essential services like healthcare, safe water, and education.”

At least 4.3 million people across Venezuela do not have access to safe drinking water; vaccine-preventable diseases including measles and diphtheria have re-emerged, while yellow fever and malaria are on the rise. An estimated 1.3 million children and adolescents need protection services, while over 1 million children are out of school.

In line with the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for Venezuela launched by the United Nations and its partners, UNICEF’s priorities for the remainder of the year include:

  • Providing 800,000 people with access to safe drinking water;
  • Continuing to rehabilitate the vaccine cold chain;
  • Vaccinating more than 1,200,000 children under 5 years against measles;
  • Ensuring treatment for 7,000 children under 5 years suffering from severe or moderate malnutrition;
  • Distributing education materials to 680,000 children aged 4-18 years;
  • Reaching 216,000 children with psychosocial and protection support; and
  • Providing over 170,000 pregnant women and newborn babies with health assistance.

These efforts build on UNICEF’s existing programmatic reach which has increased steadily over the past year to meet the growing needs of the most vulnerable children. Since 2018, UNICEF has shipped nearly 200 tons of basic health, nutrition, education, water and sanitation relief supplies to Venezuela.

So far this year, UNICEF and its partners on the ground have helped more than 180,000 people gain access to safe drinking water, provided over 60,000 children with access to learning materials, and delivered micronutrient supplements for 76,000 children under 5 years, as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women.

As one of the major humanitarian actors in Venezuela, UNICEF is working with civil society organizations, private companies, and local authorities to provide humanitarian assistance to children in need through its field offices across the country.

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Rakesh Raman