Venezuela Extends State of Emergency in 8 States as Rains Persist

The Venezuelan government has decided to extend the state of emergency by 90 days in 8 states due to the persistence of heavy rains.


Coro, May 19th 2011 ( – The Venezuelan government has decided to extend the state of emergency by 90 days in 8 states due to the persistence of heavy rains.

In a cabinet meeting on Tuesday evening, ministers extended the state of emergency in Vargas, Miranda, Zulia, Falcón, Mérida, Trujillo, Nueva Esparta and the Capital District, where adverse weather conditions have severely affected houses and roads.

Quickly responding to a deterioration in the weather over the past few days, the government has taken the measure in order to keep “attending to this region in a special way, implementing the investments that the president has continued to approve for the recovery of access roads, the reconstruction of houses and for the shelters,” said Foreign Relations Minister Nicolas Maduro.

The minister added that the natural phenomenon was occurring due to “climate change”.

In exceptional measures requested by President Chávez, cabinet ministers were yesterday spread out throughout the national territory as a contingency plan for further rain. Francisco Garcés, the minister for transport and communications, said the ministers were acting as a “safeguard” for Venezuelans affected by the rains.

“Our first priority is human life, then to relocate those who have been affected, unblock roads and implement stabilisation programmes,” Garcés said from the state of Miranda, where he was carrying out an inspection of the access road linking Petare and Guarenas.

Yesterday evening via an announcement made on his twitter page, Chávez confirmed that he had taken further measures to deal with the crisis by sending Justice Minister Tarek El Aissami and National Guard Commanding Officer Luis Motta Dominguez to the state of Táchira in order to coordinate the emergency relief effort.

“To the people of Trujillo: I am assigning 325.6 million bolivars to repair the serious damage that has been done to the highway as a result of the rain. Thank you Governor!” read another status update.

Some Venezuelan citizens are still living in state-run refugee shelters that were set up after torrential rains in November and December 2010 left 38 people dead and 130,000 displaced.

Yesterday, Colombian authorities evacuated 1,000 people after torrential rains caused by La Niña phenomenon triggered an avalanche in the department of Santander. Since April 2010, 449 Colombians have been killed, 535 injured, 82 missing and more than 3.3 million detrimentally affected by the rains.