WHY WE DO IT
Venezuela finds itself in a crisis. The economy has crashed, and a political opposition rebellion against President Nicolas Maduro has brought the leadership of this beautiful country into question. Approximately 5 million Venezuelans have fled the country in desperate search of the most basic necessities of life. Food. Employment. And simply, a better life.
Latin America’s largest migration in recent years has been motivated by extreme hyperinflation (over 1 million percent), crimes and violence, and not to mention the food and medicine shortages stemming from recent years of the political turmoil. Once-abolished diseases (such as cholera and malaria) have returned, and children are increasingly dying from lack of medicine, starvation and malnutrition-related causes.
According to Moises Rendon of the Center for Strategic & International Studies, in spite of Venezuela ranking as one of the world’s top 15 countries in renewable fresh water resources, nearly 80% of Venezuelans do not have stable access to clean drinking water or basic sanitation. For most citizens, the water they sporadically consume is of unreliable quality or not drinkable at all. Clean water in Venezuela has become a luxury, and even with price controls set in place, a bottle of water is about $4.00. Keep in mind that a significant portion of the country’s minimum wage of approximately $9.00/month.
How has this affected the country recently?
Two nationwide blackouts—the first one occurred on March 7, 2019 that lasted 90 hours! The second one was on March 25, 2019. The conservation of electricity has dwindled water flow and supply for Venezuelan citizens, leading to about 60% less available water than in the year 1999.
Educational facilities at all levels (from primary institutions to universities) have closed down partially due to the lack of access to water services for drinking and/or sanitation. According to the Living Conditions Survey (Encovi) of 2018, 28% of students did not attend school due to the shortage of water, 22% due to the lack of food at home, and 13% due to food shortages at school.
The lack of clean water has led to what physicians in Venezuela detail as increases in cases of diarrhea, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, malaria, zika virus, dengue, and Hepatitis A.
Too many hospitals have closed due to deficits of varying categories:
– 80% do not have access to water,
– 53% do not have adequately equipped rooms, and
– 60% do not have beds.
Furthermore, Venezuela has a disquieting maternal mortality rate. In 2017, for every 100,000 live births, 125 mothers died, an increase from the rate in 2005, of 113 deaths per 100,000 live births.