Switzerland sends emergency aid to Venezuela

Switzerland has stepped up emergency aid deliveries for Venezuela’s natural disaster victims, contributing food, water and medical aid worth about SFr400,000 ($253,000), the authorities said on Monday.

This content was published on December 20, 1999 - 12:52

Switzerland has stepped up emergency aid deliveries for Venezuela’s natural disaster victims, contributing food, water and medical aid worth about SFr400,000 ($253,000), the authorities said on Monday.

The Swiss Red Cross is providing blankets, water purification equipment and medical supplies, which are distributed by about 1,000 volunteers of the Venezuelan Red Cross. Switzerland’s Roman Catholic charity Caritas is supporting those efforts and helps set up emergency shelters.

The official death toll from Venezuela’s worst natural calamity this century has risen to 5,000 and is expected to rise further. It is not clear how many bodies have been recovered but most of the dead remain buried under rubble and mud after large swaths of Venezuela’s northern coast were swept away due to torrential rainfall and landslides last Wednesday.

Many of the dead and wounded were people living in shacks made of tin, wood and cinderblock.

About 6,000 people are still reported missing and another 150,000 have been made homeless.

Many survivors have been forced to wander through streets covered with rocks and mud in search of food and water. Nearby Caribbean beaches were turned into cemeteries and there has been looting across affected areas.

The magnitude of the calamity has overwhelmed Venezuela’s capacity to respond and dozens of nations from around the world rushed aid to the South American nation.

From staff and wire reports.

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