Venezuela

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UNHCR, 2021

 Highlights

  • During the first semester of 2021, the Shelter, Energy and NFI Cluster reached 303,397 beneficiaries through partner organisations. Activities covered 14 states and Capital District.  217 street solar lamps, 18 electric systems and 87 Refugee Housing Units have been installed to support institutions and communities, and 4,231 solar lamps, 888 habitat kits, 1180 family kits and 123 individual kits have been delivered to support the most vulnerable population.
  • Heavy rains have been registered nationwide generating floods and overflowing, leading to the loss of basic NFI/equipment and damage in individual shelters, especially in Apure and Zulia. The National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (INAMEH by its Spanish acronym) predicted that tropical waves (which generate heavy rains) could extend into November, local and national authorities remain on alert. Owing to the occurrence of these meteorological phenomena, region-level contingency plans have been developed in Zulia and Apure in coordination with authorities to assist people affected by the rains.
  • During April, clashes between Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB for its acronym in Spanish) and armed groups were reported in La Victoria (Apure state) leading to the displacement of people to Colombia. A ceasefire was reported during May and June generating returns of people to areas of origin (AoO).  Authorities and humanitarian actors remain alert to continue assisting affected population with basic NFI and temporary shelters if necessary.
  • The State of Emergency was extended, together with nationwide quarantine and movement restrictions in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19. According to the Venezuela Ministry of Health, as of the end of June, Venezuela had 15,647 active cases and 272,712 registered cases in total.
  • The cluster carried out advocacy activities showing humanitarian needs, cluster strategy and response, main gaps and challenges, lessons learns, and the importance of make response inside Venezuela visible for donors and stakeholders. Two documents were developed: Country Overview Cluster Shelter, Energy and NFI Venezuela and Venezuela Global Shelter Cluster Presentation.
  • The 2021 Venezuela Humanitarian Response Plan was published in mid-June as an update of the 2020 HRP, requiring 708.1 million dollars to assist 4.5 people in need. Regarding other funding mechanisms, through the first assignment of the Venezuelan Humanitarian Fund three local partner organizations received funds to implement projects related with shelter, energy and NFI cluster.

NFI

Shelter

Need analysis

  • Despite border with Colombia and Brazil remained partially closed, human mobility across the border increased during “flexible” weeks. Also, in early June Colombia opened border, but the Venezuelan frontier side has not yet been authorized to do it, impacting human mobility trends. It continues to be a priority to assist vulnerable people on the move, including improvement in temporary shelter arrangements and NFI distribution.
  • Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of the supporting action to authorities to prevent the spread of the virus and assist most vulnerable population, potential rehabilitation works were identified in several health centers in Táchira, Zulia, Barinas, Bolívar, and Sucre, and an elder care center in Portuguesa.

Response

  • By June 2021, 303,397 individuals have been reached by Shelter, Energy and NFI activities (55% female and 45% male) in 14 states and the Capital District.  The states covering the higher number of beneficiaries have been Táchira, Sucre, La Guaira, Miranda, Apure, Bolívar y Mérida.
  • The partners response in Venezuela has comprised most of the interventions at the community level.  Focusing on the needs coming from COVID-19 emergency, 40 health centers have been benefited from the partners actions combining access to energy, shelter and critical NFIs availability.  32 community centers providing protection and essential services to population and 18 temporary collective centers (including PASIs) have also been benefited by the response.
  • Activities to improve access to energy have addressed the limitations related with the national electric system through renewable sources of energy.  Response has included the installation of 217 street solar lamps in public places and 18 electric systems, including photovoltaic systems in institutions, organizations, community centers and collective shelters.  As a result, 89,609 individuals have been benefited by improved access to energy.
  • Actions to improve shelter conditions in community centers have included the installation of 87 refugee housing units (RHUs).  33 RHUs have been installed to expand and create triage areas and quarantine zones in health centres preventing the spread of COVID-19, 22 in collective temporary shelters, and 32 have benefited community spaces, centers and institutions, communities and other locations.  Overall, 153.683 individuals have been benefited through shelter interventions.
  • Action has been taken to improve access to basic NFIs for the most vulnerable population benefiting 60,105 people both individually and through community centers and institutions.  Basic NFI distribution has been critical in the assistance of vulnerable people affected by armed conflicts in Apure State, people affected by diseases like the leishmaniasis outbreak in Zulia, and people affected by flooding in several regions of the country.  It has comprised the delivery of 4,231 solar lamps, 888 habitat kits, 1180 family kits and 123 individual kits, comprising critical items like mosquito nets, insect repellents, pads, sheets, cooking items, among others.  Basic NFIs have also benefited community centers and institutions through basic mobiliary and kitchen sets, among other items.

Gaps / challenges

  • The fact that 2021 is an electoral year in Venezuela implies risks associated with the possible politicization of humanitarian assistance. Some setbacks related with coordination actions at the local level have been reported.
  • Major gap in shelter, energy and NFI related humanitarian assistance continues in the eastern region of the country, where states such as Amazonas and Delta Amacuro do not have activities implemented. Advocacy actions are required to allow humanitarian access and logistics arrangements for guarantee an effective response.
  • Despite the progress reported in some regions (as Táchira state) to improve access to fuel for humanitarian actors, access to gasoline remains the main operational challenge throughout the country. Demonstrations to demand the dispatch of gasoline have occurred in Barinas state (municipality of Barinas) where people have been in line for up to 18 days to obtain fuel.
  • The limited presence of humanitarian actors with shelter, energy and NFI capacities in central and eastern states, where humanitarian needs have been identified, is still a challenge to scale up humanitarian assistance in most vulnerable and remote communities.
  • Regarding need analysis within the HPC 2022 framework, there are no major advances in multisectoral data collection, which could generate weaknesses in identification and analysis of humanitarian needs. Joint actions are necessary to allow access to official data and collection of primary information in the field.