Many regions of Venezuela continue to be deprived of electricity and drinking water, as more and more supplies are cut off due to the ongoing political crisis. In response the charity UNICEF has deployed portable generators to guarantee a supply of electricity to pediatric hospitals and maternity wards. Much of UNICEF’s work is being coordinated with the government ministry for health.
Venezuela’s crisis began in 2010 when low oil prices caused problems for the country’s economy, resulting in a shortage of basic supplies for much of the population. Recently the crisis has deepened with disputes over the results of last year’s presidential elections.
UNICEF reports supplying generators to 7 state run hospitals so as to guarantee enough electricity to allow surgeries and births to take place. It is estimated that up to 24,000 children will benefit as a result of these measures.
UNICEF has also increased its supply of vaccines for diseases such as measles, diphtheria, malaria and HIV, aiding another 150,000 people.
The country’s water supply has also been affected by the crisis, with much of the infrastructure being neglected, depriving many areas of a reliable supply of clean water. UNICEF reports that it has distributed water purification tablets to over 12,000 families, with a further 4,200 receiving oral rehydration salts as well.