Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro declared Friday a state of emergency in a town in Apure state, where heavy rains have spurred heavy flooding.
In a statement aired by public broadcaster VTV, Maduro announced the municipality of Paez would receive emergency aid, including around US$47 million (converted at the official rate of 6.3 bolivars to the dollar) in immediate relief funding.
The cash is set to be used to evacuate people from inundated areas, and provide basic supplies.
The military has also been deployed to assist in aid efforts, while a special emergency authority was convened Friday night by the president to coordinate relief efforts.
“At first, we provided emergency assistance to all those affected and assessed the damages, now, once the raining stops and floods end we’ll have a comprehensive recovery plan,” Maduro said.
In another initiative, state-owned telecommunications company Movilnet has announced it will provide free service to users in affected areas.
The floods in Paez are already being described as the worst to hit the area in over two decades. The disaster was triggered after more than two weeks of heavy rains caused two rivers to break their banks.
More than 40,000 people have been affected, with scores of homes and businesses already severely damaged by floodwaters.
However, damage is yet to approach the scale of Venezuela’s 2010 floods, which affected around 1.5 million Venezuelans across three states and the capital and destroyed thousands of homes. Over 20 people were killed.
During the height of the floods around 33,000 people were living in temporary government shelters, while 20 displaced families were squeezed into the presidential palace.