Venezuela continues to face a deep economic, social and political crisis. This situation has severely affected the healthcare system, caused large shortages in public services and increased difficulties in accessing food. More than 5.6 million Venezuelans have left the country since 2015. Local sources estimate that 14 million people suffer food insecurity. According to the World Food Programme, Venezuela is one of the countries most severely affected by food insecurity worldwide. COVID-19 has further deteriorated the health and social situation
Hyperinflation and a severe scarcity of food and essential goods continue compromising the daily lives and livelihoods of a large part of the population. The International Monetary Fund estimates that Venezuela’s economy will shrink by 10% in 2021.
According to local calculations, the minimum wage is only enough to buy 0.7% of the monthly food needs of a family who receives the monthly State Support bonus. As of January 2021, 37.3% of the pregnant women supported by UNICEF were suffering from undernourishment.
Up to 70% of school-aged children are not attending class regularly and more than 15% have had significant delays in their education, even before the pandemic. The mass exodus has also resulted in the lack of qualified education personnel - at least over 200,000 teachers.
Around 82% of the population do not have continuous access to water. The country has seen several large outbreaks of infectious diseases, e.g. measles, diphtheria, and malaria. This is because preventative programmes have been discontinued, and sanitary conditions have worsened.
Homicide rates are among the highest in the world (60.34 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants in 2020). The situation in border areas, confronted by the presence of armed actors and criminal gangs, is of particular concern.
Since 2016, the European Union has allocated €238 million in emergency humanitarian aid. The funding helps assist Venezuelans in need inside the country, and those hosted in neighbouring countries.
EU humanitarian assistance is delivered through UN agencies, international non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and the Red Cross movement who implement projects covering the broad spectrum of humanitarian needs.
The aid focuses on addressing the most pressing needs of the affected population, targeting the most vulnerable groups such as, children under 5 years, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, older people, and indigenous groups.
As part of the EU global response to coronavirus, in August 2020 a Humanitarian Air Bridge operation consisting of 2 flights reached Caracas. The planes brought 82.5 tonnes of life-saving material to supply humanitarian partners in the field and support half a million Venezuelans in need. The cargo consisted mostly of medical equipment, e.g. personal protection gear, medicines, water purification equipment, and family hygiene kits.
The assistance to refugees and internally displaced people focuses on emergency medical services, food assistance, the provision of legal information and support, protection initiatives (specifically against gender-based violence and human trafficking), education in emergencies, and shelter.