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Venezuelan Government Assists Families Affected by Heavy Rains

Emergency Declared in Three Regions of the Country

The Venezuelan government is working intensively to assist the families affected in the wake of the heavy rains throughout the country. The measures include the provision of shelters and storage centers, mobilization of machinery to rehabilitate roads and access points to all the affected areas, deployment of qualified personnel to safeguard the lives of the inhabitants of risk zones, among other actions.

Early Wednesday, the government opened 31 new shelters throughout the country to offer integral attention to 2,455 families affected by the constant rains, which started in September and have become stronger in recent days.

According to an assessment by the Minister of People’s Power for Defense, Carlos Mata Figueroa, a total of 259 shelters are operational, where affected families have access to health care services, food and psychological orientation for as long as needed. Additionally, affected families are expected to be relocated to unoccupied buildings or houses — once they are properly equipped — which are under construction by the Venezuelan government.

Mata Figueroa informed that by November 30 6,620 people were moved to shelters.

Moreover, the minister said that a total of 164 storage centers were opened throughout the country, allowing for a better receiving and distribution of food and first-aid equipment. These centers have currently a total of 1,132 tons of food for affected people, the Venezuelan official informed.

“We are taking care of the emergencies,” emphasized Minister Mata Figueroa on Wednesday in Caracas.

Concerning the attention to affected infrastructure and blocked transit routes, Venezuela’s unified military commander has deployed machinery and heavy equipment in 112 affected areas to remove rubble and open access as soon as possible.

The minister of Defense reiterated that all the Venezuelan agencies are deployed throughout the country in order to attend to the contingency and prevent further loss of lives due to the extreme weather.

Mata Figueroa said that the number of officials incorporated to assist the citizens, as well as for security and cooperation operations, has increased.

The minister said that so far 10,561 men and women of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces, 2,331 members of the Bolivarian militias, 3,657 officials of National Direction of Civil Protection, and over 5,000 officials of the National Guard are actively providing assistance in the efforts.

More than 200 Machineries Operative Throughout the Country to Remove Rubbles

For his part, the Minister of People’s Power for Transportation and Communications, Francisco Garcés, informed that over 200 privately and state-owned machineries are deployed in different areas of the country to clear the ways affected by landslides.

Garcés said that so far more that 50 way accidents have occurred, especially in the country’s main highways, much of which have already been solved. The Venezuelan government is working hard to solve the defects in felt structures such as bridges, sewers and faults in other highways.

Emergency Decree Extended to Speed Up Citizen’s Attention

The Venezuelan Vice-President Elías Jaua informed on Tuesday that the emergency decree was extended for the Capital District, Vargas and Miranda, regions from the northern central coast of the country, due to the rainy forecast.

On Monday, the northwestern state of Falcón was the first region declared in emergency due to the torrential rains which have caused so far over 56,000 affected people throughout the country.

Jaua reminded that this decree was implemented to speed up budgets and tools allowing to assisting the people more efficiently and that it must not be used to cause panic among the population.

Furthermore, the Venezuelan government has opened 24-hour phone lines to report emergencies.

Twenty-six Families Stay Temporarily at the Miraflores Presidential Palace

Twenty-six affected families are being accommodated at the Miraflores Presidential Palace, seat of the Venezuelan government, as requested by President Chávez.

“Those families who are coming here (to the Miraflores Palace) even have their equipped rooms already. When they leave here it must be to their definitive houses, we have worked hard so they can live well here, as best as possible,” said President Chávez on Wednesday when receiving the families.

The affected people will have access to the Miraflores Palace’s canteen and will receive medical attention, which shows the commitment of the government of President Chávez to assist the affected people.

“It’s an emergency and we must leave personal comforts and address the emergency we are facing,” emphasized the Venezuelan leader.

AVN/Press Office – Venezuelan Embassy to the U.S./December 1, 2010

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