USAID Should Work With Partners To Provide Direct Aid To Refugees Along Venezuelan Border
Global Post: U.S. is Gifting Venezuelans Humanitarian Aid but is Falling Short of the Target
Eric Lee, fellow with the Rotary Foundation and principal-agent for multiple Rotary International humanitarian projects
“According to press releases, fact sheets, and administrator statements from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. is emphasizing efforts to pre-position direct aid for Venezuelans in warehouses along the border in Colombia and Brazil or stockpile supplies in shipping containers at the Dutch island of Curacao. … Pre-positioning relief is only part of the solution, and USAID should provide a portion of their direct aid to organizations currently helping refugees on the border. Undue emphasis on pre-positioning is worsening a stand-off with the current Venezuelan regime, hurting the chances of smaller ancillary aid shipments from entering Venezuela, and fails to appreciate the needs [of] refugees who have already fled. … Besides causing the regime to clamp down on border security, this strategy [to pre-position relief] fails to appreciate the growing needs of civic and faith-based organizations shouldering the brunt of refugee pressures in neighboring countries. … The refugee crisis resulting from Venezuela’s economic collapse is getting worse by the day. Pre-positioned aid is not making its way to people inside Venezuela, and it’s not helping refugees who’ve made it out of Venezuela. USAID missions should make a more concerted effort to work with international relief, faith-based, and civic organizations to provide direct aid to refugees along the border with Venezuela” (4/2).