Twenty Million Venezuelans Still Have Severe Humanitarian Needs

The fourth edition of a report on the humanitarian complex emergency, published by HumVenezuela platform, shows a fall in purchasing power and a new push for migration in 2022 and 2023

On January 8th, HumVenezuela, an alliance of civil society organizations, published its fourth report on the complex humanitarian emergency (CH), that Venezuela is still facing. The survey covered 20 of the 23 states and the period from March 2022 and November 2023. Its main takeout: the CHE persists and continues to have a severe impact on the population, at a high scale.  

Despite the GDP growth and the expectations about an economic recovery in 2022, inflation and devaluation in 2023 reduced the already low purchasing power for most Venezuelans. 69.9% of the population is living under “multidimensional poverty”: that means that seven out of ten people saw their income falling while they have to live amid insufficient or absent public services (water supply, power, security, health). 

Apure is the poorest state: down there, individual average income is 30 dollars per month, 87.6% of households are unable to make ends meet even for basic needs, and 88.3% of the population lacks proper public services. 

From 2022 to November 2023, the intention of migrating —within the country or abroad— went from 8% to 13.4% of the population, the equivalent of 3.9 million people, mostly for economic reasons. Similarly, 3,6% are thinking of migrating internally. These migrations are the result of the CHE affecting 20.1 million people out of the estimated total of 28.8 millions living in Venezuela at this time.

Hunger and illness remain

69.7% of people who participated in the survey reported that they reduced or ceased the consumption of certain food as a survival strategy, a practice that has not disappeared since the peak of scarcity in the previous decade, even when food availability has improved in most recent years. More than half of the population is still unable to have a nutritious diet or to afford the basic needs basket. Actually, 22.8% of people who responded to HumVenezuela found themselves with no food at home.

Water supply is as bad as food insecurity. 69% of people have a restricted service of running water. 69.1% have severe drinking water restrictions. In fact, 86% had to find alternative sources, such as rainwater. Luckily, 2023 was the third year on record with the highest accumulated precipitation.

Using polluted water must have an impact on health, which remains a scarce and unaffordable luxury for the majority. 87.8% of people depend on the devastated public healthcare system. 97.6% have no insurance or savings to face a health emergency. 54% can’t cover basic healthcare expenses. This is no news: Venezuela cannot guarantee healthcare, not even for emergencies, maternity, or chronic and acute diseases. Almost everyone in the country depends on a healthcare public network that is not functioning.

51.6% of children attended school irregularly and a deficit of 61.6% of children in the classrooms was reported, because of a lack of water, power or teachers —a situation that has deepened since 2019, when 40% of them left the system to survive from other activities or because of deficient infrastructure or equipment at teaching locations or lack of food in schools. Schools remain the same as in 2020: low in students and under grave uncertainty.

So the humanitarian conditions have not improved here, despite whatever the Maduro regime can say to States like Iceland, where Venezuelans lead the requirements of international protection but saw no asylum approved since the Nordic nation included Venezuela in the “safe country” category.And the outlook isn’t promising. No Venezuelan state is free from the CHE, the report says. International assistance is still restricted and Venezuela needs to compete with other global crises like Ukraine and Gaza. The world has started to forget that Venezuela is still in severe need, making everything more difficult to the organizations involved in the effort of saving lives. Meanwhile, in the National Assembly, lawmakers are discussing a bill to regulate the funding and activities of NGOs – and get the scorched earth even more scorched.