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US pledges over $171 million in humanitarian aid to Venezuela


Caracas, Venezuela — The U.S. government plans to pledge more than $171 million on Friday for humanitarian and development projects to help Venezuelans facing a variety of urgent needs at home and abroad.

Some of the money will go towards food, water and sanitation efforts in the crisis-ravaged country, while other funds are earmarked for emergency shelter, healthcare and other services for Venezuelans who have emigrated to other South American countries, the US State Department told The Associated Press ahead of the announcement.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield is expected to announce the pledged funding at a conference in Brussels. The event is designed to raise awareness of Venezuela’s protracted economic and political crisis, which has plunged millions into poverty and driven more than 7 million others to migrate, mostly to Latin America.

The pledge comes nearly four months after President Nicolas Maduro’s government and Venezuela’s opposition, including the US-backed faction, struck a deal to fund social programs with money from assets of the country frozen abroad. But the fund, which should be managed by the United Nations and gradually receive around 3 billion dollars, has not yet materialized.

About three-quarters of Venezuelans live on less than $1.90 a day, the international benchmark for extreme poverty. The minimum wage paid in Venezuelan bolivars is equivalent to $5 a month, down from $30 in April.

None of these wages are enough to feed a person, much less a family. The cost of a basket of basic goods for a family of four was estimated at $372 in December.

A UN report released last year estimated humanitarian needs at $795 million to help around 5.2 million people in Venezuela through health, education, water and sanitation projects. sanitation, food and other projects.

The State Department said the funding announced Friday includes more than $84 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development for health care, food, water and other services for people living in Venezuela. and for emergency food aid to Venezuelan migrants. The money will go to UN agencies and non-governmental groups already operating in Venezuela.

USAID will also provide $31 million for development efforts, including assistance with the socio-economic integration of Venezuelans in Colombia, where the bulk of migrants resettled during the crisis, and in Ecuador. . Part of this amount will be used to support human rights organizations, independent media and other groups.

More than $56 million from the Department of State will be directed to humanitarian programs for Venezuelans and their host countries, including emergency shelter, mental health services, and the protection of women, indigenous peoples and children. other vulnerable groups.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.