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Venezuela: Saving lives in unprecedented times

10 Aug 2020


Read on Exposure

Venezuela: Saving lives in unprecedented times by UN Humanitarian on Exposure

Bernal Santana (26), his wife, Noeli Apontes (25), and their daughter, Valentina, recently walked for 16 days from Peru to Táchira, a Venezuelan border state. “We are exhausted, but it is like a victory, we are almost home. We are anxious to meet our family,” said Noeli. The family are in quarantine in a temporary shelter in Táchira and are still 400 km away from their home in Maracay state.

After more than a year away from home, Bernal and Noeli lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Now they face an uncertain future but are grateful to be back home.

The COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Venezuela in mid-March. The number of cases was kept relatively low in the first three months, but there has recently been a significant increase in cases. 

The prolonged lockdown and quarantine measures have severely impacted the country’s economy and people’s livelihoods and exacerbated existing humanitarian needs.

An additional challenge for the country has been the return of tens of thousands of Venezuelans, who had lost their jobs in neighbouring countries because of COVID-19-related lockdown measures. Since 6 April, according to official figures, more than 74,000 people have returned to Venezuela.