Humanitarian Assistance in Venezuela, the EU’s Concerns

Venezuela, a country in the Northern coast of South America, has been facing a prolonged political turmoil and economic distress for nearly a decade. The country needs more humanitarian assistance than ever before, as more than 21% of the country’s population suffers from malnutrition and 25% is surviving solely on international humanitarian aid. Moreover, around 70% of children do not have access to basic education. Moreover, the country is deprived of basic necessities including medicines, electricity, and water supply.

The EU’s Support

The European Union (EU) has been extending its humanitarian aids to the country and is looking forward to improving the situation in Venezuela. The supranational organization has provided more than €170 million since 2018 and around €320 million in 2019, including the Member States’ assistance in Venezuela and its neighboring countries.

The EU remains a leading foreign assistance donor for the country. The EU allots around two-thirds of the immediate humanitarian response to tackle the country’s internal problems and the remaining one-third is reserved for the neighboring countries. According to an EU official, “We aim at maintaining this level of engagement in the future.”

Josep Borrell Fontelles, the current High Representative of the EU, spoke in the European Parliament pointing out a serious concern regarding the shortage of the EU’s foreign assistance funding for the future. He stated, “We, the European Union together with our Member States need to keep up the momentum created by the International Solidarity Conference held at the end of October in Brussels. There was not a big answer from the point of view of the resources collected. We have to call for another one in order to bring resources to face this problem.”

Fontelles continued, “No matter how much we dig into our solidarity coffers, our resources will never be enough to address a crisis of this magnitude. We cannot feed every day millions of people.”

The EU is expecting foreign assistance from other regional organizations, especially the United Nations (UN). Meanwhile, the UN plans to increase its Regional Response Plan (RMRP), which is likely to double the funding to $1.3 billion as compared to that in 2018.

Increasing the Migrants from the Country

The displacement rate of Venezuela’s population has increased considerably and is considered to be the largest population movement in the American continent.

As per the European Commission, “About 5000 Venezuelans leave their country every day and 5 million Venezuelans have already fled from the country due to the chaotic situation of the country. Most precisely, the number of Venezuelan migrants and refugees in Latin American and Caribbean countries has increased to almost 4 million people right now.”

According to the UN’s estimation, “The number of migrants can still increase to 4 million and can reach 5 million by the end of next year.” As per Fontelles, “I would like [that] praise goes to neighboring countries in the region for their remarkable efforts in welcoming Venezuelan migrants and refugees. But, overall, the need to help them is increasing.”

However, Fontelles appealed that the political solution cannot be simply focused on the crisis of migration and the international help for the country cannot continue the way it is going. He commented that the country needs to focus on the overall development to fight against the existing economic problems.

Citing the large stock of natural resources in the country, he claimed, Venezuela can get rid of the condition of deep poverty and hunger if its government effectively leverage natural resources to successfully generate high revenue for the country.

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