Venezuela border projects bring fresh water, help children go to school
Starting today, children in one community in Venezuela can get to school more easily, and people in two other areas have drinking water - thanks to projects inaugurated by UNHCR. The community projects in border regions of Venezuela are part of the refugee agency's efforts to support the Venezuelan local population and Colombians who have fled violence in their homeland.
Today, the refugee agency is handing over an outboard motor to the community of Macanillal to equip the local "schoolboat" built by members of the community to ferry children to school. Until now, many children were unable to go to school because of the lack of public transport in the area.
Also in Macanillal, in the state of Apure, residents pitched in to help drill 12 wells and install manual water pumps, which are being put into use as of today. Elsewhere in Apure, in the community of Puerto Infante, the local water pump was repaired to provide safe drinking water to the community. The projects were carried out by UNHCR, Caritas Venezuela and the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS).
"This kind of project allows us to increase the assistance to the border communities and contribute to their development for the good of the local population as well as people in need of international protection," said José Samaniego, UNHCR's staff member responsible for programmes in northern South America, based in Caracas. "The projects are the result of close cooperation between the local authorities, civil society and UNHCR."
Located approximately 30 minutes from the Colombian border, Macanillal and Puerto Infante are the home to many Colombians families, fleeing conflict in Colombia. Given their location along the river Arauca, in Apure, the two communities are often inaccessible by land due to flash flooding. Poor water delivery and sanitation conditions have often resulted in medical and health problems for the residents in the area.
Since 2002, UNHCR, Caritas and JRS have carried out more than 55 projects in host communities in the border states of Amazonas, Apure, Táchira y Zulia, benefiting more than 26,000 people in 24 communities.