CARACAS / PANAMA, July 5, 2019 - More than 2.8 million people, including Venezuelan children, adolescents and families, will gain improved access to safe drinking water after a collaboration agreement signed this week between UNICEF and the Government of Venezuela.
As part of the agreement with the Ministry of Water, UNICEF will work on expanding the supply of safe drinking water through systems repair and extension, water-trucking and other alternative sources, strengthening of priority sanitation systems, and providing technical assistance and cooperation in water quality monitoring.
“Water is fundamental to families’ life and dignity. This agreement will help children and adolescents access safe water, which is critical to their survival and healthy development,” said María Cristina Perceval, UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean. “The rehabilitation of water infrastructure will have an immediate impact on the lives of families and will ensure the sustainability of their well-being in the long run,” added the Regional Director.
UNICEF’s work will help in the rehabilitation of ground and surface water sources, the repair of water supply systems, the distribution of water for strategic points such as hospitals, the rehabilitation of pumping stations and the chlorination of water distributed through water-trucking. As part of this joint initiative with national and local authorities, UNICEF will also provide support to improve water quality, conduct training and disseminate information for adequate hygiene practices, water treatment and storage at the household level.
“Access to safe drinking water is essential for the prevention of childhood diseases and reduction in child mortality across the world, including in Venezuela,” said UNICEF Venezuela Interim Representative Hervé de Lys. “We are determined to make more efforts to improve children’s health in every household of even the most remote communities in Venezuela,” he added.
The joint work will prioritize the most vulnerable states and may be expanded to other areas at a later stage, depending on the needs. In these places, the rehabilitation of 60 systems and the expansion of water distribution systems, as well as the support for the repair and improvement of sanitation systems will directly benefit more than 2.8 million people.
The agreement reached with the Ministry of Water is part of the cooperation plan that UNICEF has been developing in Venezuela for the past 30 years. In 2018, the plan was scaled up to address the emerging needs of children, adolescents and women due to deteriorating living conditions in the country. UNICEF estimates that 3.2 million children need assistance in Venezuela. UNICEF works for every child across the world with all governments and communities, under the principles of independence and political neutrality.
Since 2018, UNICEF has shipped nearly 200 tons of basic health, nutrition, education, water and sanitation supplies to Venezuela. So far in 2019, we have collaborated with partners across the country to provide:
- Access to safe water for more than 153,000 people and access to water, sanitation and hygiene services for 18,300 people in health centers, schools, learning spaces and child-friendly environments.
- Micronutrient supplements for more than 76,000 children under 5, as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women. In addition, ambulatory treatment for acute malnutrition was provided to another 3,800 children.
- Almost 6.7 million doses of diphtheria vaccine, and 176,000 doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.
- Recreational materials benefiting nearly 60,000 children.
- Psychosocial support for almost 10,000 children and adolescents.
UNICEF funding needs have increased due to the plans to improve water and sanitation services and scale up its work in support of children, adolescents and their families.