2019 in review: Saving lives in Venezuela

Since 2014, Venezuela has been devastated by an ongoing political and economic crisis that has:

  • Forced 4.8 million Venezuelans from their homes.
  • Left 7 million people in Venezuela in need of humanitarian assistance.
  • Caused 90 percent of hospitals in Venezuela to be without enough water or access to medicine.

Working with international and local organizations and United Nations agencies, the United States has provided $56 million in humanitarian assistance inside Venezuela.

Here are four ways that the U.S. Agency for International Development’s support for the Venezuelan people made a difference in 2019:

1. Decreased measles deaths by more than 97 percent

Woman administering vaccine in syringe to child (Ary Silva/PAHO/WHO)
The Pan American Health Organization began a vaccination campaign inside Venezuela in 2018. (Ary Silva/PAHO/WHO)

Vaccination efforts from USAID and partners helped decrease measles deaths in Venezuela from 79 in 2018 to two in 2019. The number of confirmed measles cases also dropped, from nearly 5,800 in 2018 to less than 600 in 2019.

2. Provided much-needed water and hygiene supplies

People filling water drums (UNICEF)
USAID is working with partners in Venezuela to provide safe drinking water, including through water trucking. They go to areas where people have lost access to this basic yet vital service. (UNICEF)

USAID worked closely with partners in 2019 to provide water, sanitation and hygiene assistance to more than 7,000 people. This includes working with partners to distribute critical hygiene items — like toothbrushes, soap, and water containers — and training nearly 1,200 children and young people on hand-washing tips and other skills to stay healthy.

3. Provided lifesaving health supplies

USAID delivered enough medical supplies in 2019 to help 160,000 people for 90 days, including bandages, disposable latex gloves, syringes, and surgical instruments. In addition to distributing these supplies, USAID partners trained staff at health facilities on good administrative procedures and finance practices.

4. Served more than a million hot meals

Overhead view of children eating food at table (Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images)
Children eat lunch at a soup kitchen in Venezuela. More than 20 percent of Venezuelans are undernourished, according to the U.N.’s 2020 Global Humanitarian Overview. (© Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images)

USAID partners served more than 1.4 million meals to vulnerable Venezuelans across 94 community kitchens and schools in 2019. This assistance reached nearly 16,000 people, including nearly 13,000 children.

A longer version of this article is available from USAID.