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At a glance: Venezuela, The Bolivarian Republic of

Hundreds of thousands of children affected by floods

© UNICEF Venezuela/2005/Martinez
Eleven out of Venezuela’s 23 states have been badly affected by the floods.

CARACAS, Venezuela, 18 February 2005 – Tens of thousands of people have been made homeless by floods caused by continuing rain. Almost half the country is devastated by the ongoing disaster, leaving hundreds of thousands of children at risk of diseases and in urgent need of food, shelter and clean water.

“This is a terrible tragedy, totally unexpected. It’s supposed to be the dry season now, but the heavy rains that started several days ago have caused severe floods,” says UNICEF Country Representative for Venezuela, Anna Lucia D'Emilio.

Hour by hour the number of affected people is increasing – more than 175,000 so far with 121,000 of them children. More than 22,000 people are homeless, at least 61 are dead and hundreds more are missing. About 150 schools have become shelters for displaced people, and another 180 are severely damaged.

© UNICEF Venezuela/2005/Ochoa
UNICEF's supplies are ready to be sent off to the relief centres.

The government of Venezuela has declared a state of emergency in some areas. Eleven out of Venezuela’s 23 states have been badly affected. Overflowing rivers have destroyed many bridges and roads.

“UNICEF has immediately allocated $100,000 for this emergency. We provided basic supplies such as water purification tablets, sleeping mats, blankets, rehydration salts, and hygiene kits to the children and their families,” says Ms. D'Emilio.

The main health problems facing children are flu, pneumonia, diarrhoea and skin infections. UNICEF is also concerned that other diseases such as malaria could become a serious problem. The children and their families are also in dire need of clean drinking water as the main pipelines have been destroyed, particularly in Merida State and Vargas State.

UNICEF is working with local partners to provide counselling for children and to ensure that those living in the relief centres are protected and not separated from their families.




18 February 2005: UNICEF Country Representative for Venezuela, Anna Lucia D'Emilio, talks about how children and their families are affected by the floods.
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