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Polish Medical Mission and Caritas Poland help the Venezuelans

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3 minutes

Due to the spreading coronavirus pandemic, the borders in South America, like in Poland, have been closed. This decision particularly affected Venezuela, which is struggling with the virus while also struggling with the humanitarian and economic crisis.

Until recently, the inhabitants of the Táchira region, bordering Colombia, could buy food in Colombian Cúcuta. They have now been cut off from all aid and their situation is tragic. Caritas Poland and the Polish Medical Mission operate on site delivering food packages to over 200 starving families.

Only 15% of Venezuelans can afford to fully cover their daily needs. Today the problem is not a lack of food but the average monthly income of families living in Táchira, not exceeding 10 US dollars. With such a small amount it is difficult to provide for even a small family. Thanks to the intensive work of Caritas Poland and the Polish Medical Mission, it has been possible to find producers who provide articles for humanitarian aid.

The authorities in Caracas have now announced the closure of the borders with Colombia for another 3 months. Desperate Venezuelans started crossing the borders illegally to buy food and medicines. They usually have money from their families who emigrated to various countries before the crisis, especially to Colombia but also to other Latin American countries and even Spain. It is estimated that 30% of the population receive money from relatives living abroad. The average transfer is between 30 and 50 dollars but Covid-19 has limited the possibilities of such support.

‘During my last mission in Venezuela, I saw the great tragedy of families, often broken, where children and seniors are suffering from starvation and diseases. The current coronavirus pandemic is a great threat to the lives of millions of inhabitants of this once happy country. The patron saint of all families is St. John Paul II, whose 100th birthday we celebrate on 18th May. We want to help those whom he loved and did not forget in his teaching,’ says Fr Marcin Iżycki, Director of Caritas Poland.

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