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First shipment of Red Cross humanitarian aid arrives in Venezuela

Updated : April 17, 2019 09:45 AM IST

The first shipment of humanitarian aid from the Red Cross intended to alleviate a dire economic crisis in Venezuela arrived in the once-prosperous, oil-rich country on Tuesday, a representative of the organisation and a lawmaker said. The delivery came after an about-face by president Nicolas Maduro, who last week said his socialist government had reached an agreement with the Red Cross to bring aid. Maduro had blocked previous efforts to deliver assistance and has denied the existence of a humanitarian crisis. There was little hope that the shipment - intended to help hospitals cope with shortages of equipment and frequent power outages - would be anything more than a palliative measure for Venezuela, where over three million people have fled the chaos of hyperinflation and chronic shortages of food and medicine. The United Nations estimates that a quarter of Venezuelans are in need of humanitarian assistance, with 1.9 million suffering from malnutrition and some 300,000 whose lives are at risk due to lack of medicine.

People react as they queue to receive humanitarian aid in the form of water containers and water purification pills distributed by workers of Venezuelan Red Cross in the Agua Salud neighbourhood in Caracas, Venezuela, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
People react as they queue to receive humanitarian aid in the form of water containers and water purification pills distributed by workers of Venezuelan Red Cross in the Agua Salud neighbourhood in Caracas, Venezuela, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
A woman carries a water container and water purification pills distributed by workers of Venezuelan Red Cross in Caracas, Venezuela, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
A woman carries a water container and water purification pills distributed by workers of Venezuelan Red Cross in Caracas, Venezuela, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
Workers of Venezuelan Red Cross distribute humanitarian aid in Caracas, Venezuela, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
Workers of Venezuelan Red Cross distribute humanitarian aid in Caracas, Venezuela, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
A worker of Venezuelan Red Cross walks along trucks with logo of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) carrying humanitarian aid, at a warehouse where the aid will be stored, in Caracas, Venezuela, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A worker of Venezuelan Red Cross walks along trucks with logo of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) carrying humanitarian aid, at a warehouse where the aid will be stored, in Caracas, Venezuela, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
The United Nations estimates that a quarter of Venezuelans are in need of humanitarian assistance, with 1.9 million suffering from malnutrition and some 300,000 whose lives are at risk due to lack of medicine. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
The United Nations estimates that a quarter of Venezuelans are in need of humanitarian assistance, with 1.9 million suffering from malnutrition and some 300,000 whose lives are at risk due to lack of medicine. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
Venezuela was plunged into a political deadlock in January, when Juan Guaido, the leader of the opposition-controlled National Assembly invoked the country's constitution to assume an interim presidency, arguing Maduro's 2018 re-election was illegitimate. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
Venezuela was plunged into a political deadlock in January, when Juan Guaido, the leader of the opposition-controlled National Assembly invoked the country's constitution to assume an interim presidency, arguing Maduro's 2018 re-election was illegitimate. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
Several countries, including the United States and neighbouring Colombia, contributed to a February effort to deliver aid across Venezuela's land borders, in the hopes soldiers would disavow Maduro's orders to block it. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Several countries, including the United States and neighbouring Colombia, contributed to a February effort to deliver aid across Venezuela's land borders, in the hopes soldiers would disavow Maduro's orders to block it. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
While that effort failed, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said in late March it was prepared to start an aid operation. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
While that effort failed, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said in late March it was prepared to start an aid operation. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
Workers of Venezuelan Red Cross stand next to trucks with logo of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) carrying humanitarian aid, at a warehouse where the aid will be stored, in Caracas, Venezuela, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Workers of Venezuelan Red Cross stand next to trucks with logo of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) carrying humanitarian aid, at a warehouse where the aid will be stored, in Caracas, Venezuela, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Shipment, which arrived via airplane from Panama, included 14 power generators, 5,000 litres of distilled water, and three surgery equipment kits capable of serving 10,000 patients each, according to the Red Cross. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
Shipment, which arrived via airplane from Panama, included 14 power generators, 5,000 litres of distilled water, and three surgery equipment kits capable of serving 10,000 patients each, according to the Red Cross. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
People walk past a Red Cross' truck after receiving humanitarian aid. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
People walk past a Red Cross' truck after receiving humanitarian aid. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
Trucks marked with the logo of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and believed to be carrying humanitarian aid, drive on a highway in Caracas, Venezuela, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
Trucks marked with the logo of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and believed to be carrying humanitarian aid, drive on a highway in Caracas, Venezuela, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
A worker directs trucks with logo of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) carrying humanitarian aid, at a warehouse where the aid will be stored, in Caracas, Venezuela, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
A worker directs trucks with logo of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) carrying humanitarian aid, at a warehouse where the aid will be stored, in Caracas, Venezuela, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
Mario Villarroel, the Red Cross' president in Venezuela, said on Twitter that the materials would be distributed to hospitals around the country. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
Mario Villarroel, the Red Cross' president in Venezuela, said on Twitter that the materials would be distributed to hospitals around the country. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
There was little hope that the shipment - intended to help hospitals cope with shortages of equipment and frequent power outages - would be anything more than a palliative measure for Venezuela, where over three million people have fled the chaos of hyperinflation and chronic shortages of food and medicine. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
There was little hope that the shipment - intended to help hospitals cope with shortages of equipment and frequent power outages - would be anything more than a palliative measure for Venezuela, where over three million people have fled the chaos of hyperinflation and chronic shortages of food and medicine. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
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