Not forgotten

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it. 1 Cor 12:26

In September 2016 at our Latin American Regional Consultation in Honduras, a number of members had a growing concern for the deteriorating situation in Venezuela, which seems to have by-passed international news. This special Micah mailing seeks to share concerns with one another with the hope that we will find ways to be a blessing to Venezuela. We want to let our members and our extended family there know they are not forgotten.

We need to raise the alarm!

Increasing Malnutrition

Two out of three (66%) of the children admitted this year to J. M. de los Ríos, (the main paediatric hospital in Caracas) are malnourished babies, according to hospital records.

The consequence of this is not only extremely serious, but irreversible. Malnutrition in babies in their first three years of life affects their brain development. This means learning diffculties and reduced opportunities for future employment.

Right now in Venezuela a generation of children are losing their future potential!

It is almost impossible to find milk for children throughout Venezuela. When a shipment arrives a mother is only permitted one small can. This is then used sparingly, by watering it down to make it last.

Malnutrition is affecting people of all ages in today's Venezuela, particularly those living in the most isolated regions.

A survey conducted in 2015 by three universities (Venezuela’s Central University, Andrés Bello and Simón Bolívar) showed that 76% of Venezuelans live in poverty and 49% in “severe” poverty. Additionally, 12% of the population (3.6 million people), eat only twice a day. The food selection is poor and food shortages have reached historic lows. People are spending a significant part of their day searching for a meagre pound of corn.

A separate study carried out by Venezuelan Health Watch and the Bengoa Foundation found that in 2015, calorie consumption dropped from 2,500 to 1,780 daily in children and teenagers across the country.

See report on crisis.

We need to raise the alarm!

Inflation over 700%

According to Venezuelan economist Sary Levy, as much as half of the country's workforce has come to depend on black market income to survive - and selling food, moonlighting at second jobs, or hawking goods on the street. With annual inflation running at more than 700%, "it's normal that formal jobs become unattractive," she said, and people try to sell whatever they can to get by.

We need to raise the alarm!

Shortages of Medicines

The shortage of essential medicines has reached critical levels. People will search for days to find some medicines for their loved ones and are then at risk of being arrested and accused of drug trafficking.

People are dying of treatable diseases because they cannot get hold of the most basic of drugs (see this article on shortages).

In 1961 Venezuela was able to declare itself malaria free, but now malaria is back with a vengenance (see this article on malaria's return).

We need to raise the alarm!

Second highest peace-time murder rate

Venezuela has the 2nd highest peace-time murder rate in the world, with Honduras the only country topping it. It is now classified as an epidemic (see article here).

We need to raise the alarm!

Getting to Know Venezuela

Venezuela is situated on the North coastline of South America, facing towards the Caribbean. The estimated population is 31 million.

94% of this population live in the cities of which Caracas (the capital) has about 3 million inhabitants. 60% of these urbanites live in slums.

Venezuela is one of the world's top oil producing countries! A majority of government income comes from oil sales, so with price drops there is a significant deficit for Venezeula.

Where does all the oil income go? Venezuela is regarded as the second most corrupt nation in Latin America and the Caribbean, with only Haiti above it.

During the former Presidency (Hugo Chavez) there was a level of investment in essential services, which estimated a reduction of poverty from 50% in 1999 to 27% in 2011.

Due to tight government controls and limited economic freedoms, many professional Venezuelans have emmigrated. Corruption and high crime rates have further impacted a downward spiralling economy directly affected by lower oil prices. Exchange rate controls have negatively impacted investors, causing many to pull out. This has also impacted on access to imported essential goods.

In April 2013 Nicolas MADURO Moros was elected as President. His response to the growing crisis is to increase state control, further exacerbating the problems and fears of the people.

We need to raise the alarm!

Micah Members

At present Micah has two members in Venezuela:

FUNDEVI (Fundación Déjame Vivir / Foundation for Life)

RENACSENIV (Red Nacional Cristiana de Servicios al Niño Venezolano / Network of Churches and Ministries working for children and their families).

We also have a number of our international members working in Venezuela such as InnerChange.

Walking with Venezuela

Let's earnestly intercede for Venezuela in these areas:

- For access to essential supplies, food and medicines.

- For attention to deteriorating health: malaria, Zika virus.

- For vulnerable women seeking help for their families through work in neighbouring countries, leading a number to prostitution out of desperation and exploitation.

- For children under five who need sufficient food now.

- For the international community to turn its eyes and hearts towards this nation and become a blessing.

- For the Church to unite and be a light and transforming hand in their nation.

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