CARACAS.- The Venezuelan Red Cross on Tuesday announced the entry into the country of the first shipment of humanitarian aid, including electric generators that will be allocated to several hospitals with the aim of ensuring that those health centers have electricity amid the frequent power outages being experienced around the country.
The president of the Venezuelan Society of the Red Cross, Mario Villarroel, reported the arrival of the shipment «with great joy and responsibility» from the Maiquetia international airport near Caracas.
«At this time the first shipment of humanitarian aid from the Red Cross is entering Venezuela … It includes medical supplies, electric (generators) and medicines that will be distributed to different hospitals in the country,» he said.
Villarroel reiterated that the aid will be distributed according to the principles of «neutrality, impartiality and independence» that govern the organization and its work.
In addition, he thanked Venezuelan authorities for the cooperation they provided to ensure the arrival of the aid shipment and called on «everyone not to allow the politicization of this great achievement.»
Venezuelan Health Minister Carlos Alvarado said that this first shipment of «humanitarian technical assistance» included 24 tons of supplies coming from Panama, including medication for dealing with emergencies, 14 electric generators and containers for storing water.
«A good portion of this material is going to be distributed to the eight hospitals and more than 30 outpatient clinics the Red Cross has in the country and half of it is going to be distributed within the public health system at a joint work station,» he said at the airport.
Alvarado said that the humanitarian aid «is coming to make up for the blockade in acquiring medicines» that the government of Nicolas Maduro blames on countries like the United States, who have imposed sanctions on top Venezuelan officials.
«It’s a shipment that’s coming by agreement with the Bolivarian government, with the agreement and authorization of President Nicolas Maduro,» he added.
The United Nations has said that seven million Venezuelans need humanitarian assistance, that is to say about one in every four citizens, according to the latest government estimate of the population.
The country has been going through a severe economic crisis that has resulted in a tremendous scarcity of food and medicine, a deterioration in public services, hyperinflation and instability in the electric grid.