UN delivers 90 tons of COVID-19 aid to Venezuela

Caracas (AFP) –


A plane carrying 90 tons of UN health, water and sanitation aid arrived in Venezuela on Wednesday to help the cash-strapped country fight the coronavirus pandemic.

The shipment includes 28,000 Personal Protective Equipment kits for health workers, oxygen concentrators, pediatric beds, water quality control products and hygiene kits, the UN said.

"This is the first United Nations humanitarian shipment in support of the Venezuela COVID-19 outbreak," said Peter Grohmann, the UN's humanitarian coordinator for Venezuela.

Venezuela, suffering from a crippling economic crisis that has led to shortages of basic food and medicine and forced some five million people to flee the country, has 167 confirmed cases of coronavirus and nine deaths.

The aid donations are part of an initial phase of the response to the pandemic and will go to help "children, women and vulnerable families" at 14 designated hospitals, 50 outpatient clinics and child development centers, according to Herve Ludovic de Lys, UNICEF representative in Venezuela.

Like many other Latin American countries, the socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro has put in place a nationwide quarantine, suspended school and university programs and closed borders in a bid to stop the virus spreading through the vulnerable population.