Maduro declared a state of emergency in the Paez municipality of Apure state. The municipality emcompasses the westernmost part of the state, and includes the city of Guasdualito. As of yesterday afternoon, at least 40,000 people in the area had been affected by severe flooding.
As a result, Maduro ordered Movilnet, the state-owned mobile service provider, to provide free service to citizens in the Paez municipality to aid with relief efforts.
Below, pictures of a Venezuelan Air Force Y-8 airplane unloading water bottles destined for Guasdualito yesterday:
Some Aid Sold for Profit, Not Reaching Victims
Yesterday, the former mayor of the Paez municipality, Lumay Barreto, said that some National Guard officers were selling humanitarian aid for personal profit. She called on Apure governor Ramon Carrizales to ensure that all of the aid reached the hands of the victims for free, as intended.
Below, a video uploaded onto YouTube yesterday, showing Guasdualito residents arguing with officials who are attempting to sell relief aid. In the video, a local politician (possibly named Mercedes Carrilo) argues with a National Guard officer who appears to be in charge of a relief truck that is selling aid.
Man in Purple: Split it in half and [inaudible] Bs. 500. Not everyone carries Bs. 1,000, first of all, because there’s no cash. So, if you don’t have Bs. 500, you won’t be able to eat? At least cut it in half – half for you, half for you, half for you —
Officer: But when he comes here…
Man in Purple: Yeah, right.
Man Off-Screen: Sell it in halves!
Woman in Green: My question is [inaudible] — Commander, how are you? — look, how is it possible that with the situation in Guasdualito being as it is, why is this food being sold?
Man in Venezuela Hat: Look, that’s something you can ask my boss about, because he just sent me here. I just receive orders. I’m just another soldier, I just receive orders.
Woman in Green: You’re a soldier?
Man in Venezuela Hat: Well, [inaudible]—
National Guard Officer: … we follow orders.
Woman in Green: [inaudible – she’s possibly saying “Mercedes Carillo”, her name] to be honest, I have a paternal relative here, and the water reached him up to here [signals to chest]. What has been my role as Regional Coordinator for Ezequiel Zamora for all the citizens? Not just the ones here, but all the ones in this situation. What’s happening? How is it possible that, having made the request at the national level three days ago in writing, going all the way over there and leaving everything here, and the aid arrives for all the citizens of Guasdualito, [inaudible]. Please give me the name of the person who is in charge of this in this municipality.
National Guard Officer: [inaudible] the municipal government, the politicians here–
Woman in Green: No, look, the mayor–
National Guard Officer: I’m not a politician or anything. I came here with this truck.
In another YouTube video uploaded yesterday, a woman complains that while authorities are providing aid in the form of milk bags, the bags actually appear to contain water:
Woman Recording: Ma’am, what are they giving away? What is that?
Woman with Milk: Milk.
Woman in Purple: [inaudible] look, it’s a little bag of milk. That’s what it says: “Cup of School Milk”.
Woman in Green: … milk. No way. This is the worst lie — wait, I’m going to explain it to you. They came up here – and they’re not even giving away medicine because so-and-so has to come and make sure you’re actually sick – they gave this away which is supposedly a “Cup of School Milk”. This is water. [Tears open bag; water pours out]. It’s water. And it says “Cup of School Milk”. Look.
Woman Recording: How? And how are they giving it away?
Woman off-Screen: It’s water!?
Woman in Green: It’s water.
Woman Recording: Show it to me so I can record it.
In a third video also uploaded yesterday, a large crowd of Guasdualito residents appears to break into an aid truck in an attempt to distribute aid:
Citizens of the El Aeropuerto sector of Apure state blocked a local road this morning to protest the lack of help they have received from the government. A local woman named Olivia spoke to Globovision, saying:
We decided to close the street because they don’t care about us. We live in the El Aeropuerto sector. We don’t have water, food, soap, sanitary napkins, nor gas. 14 trucks carrying gas arrived, but they all went to other sectors. They’re not supplying us with anything. They don’t supply us with food. There are 270 people in the community and they haven’t given us groceries, or shoes or medicine. We want the President to help us.
Olivia also said that many residents have been forced to sleep underneath trees or by the side of roads due to the fact that they have lost their homes and have nowhere else to go.
Relief Truck Attacked; Civil Protection Officer Killed
A truck carrying relief supplies to Guasdualito was attacked by a group of individuals yesterday. During the attack, Civil Protection officer Rogelio Montilla was killed, and his counterpart, Jose Hernandez, was injured.
The truck was carrying food, medicine, and clothes. According to Ultimas Noticias, the truck driver attempted to drive away or evade the attackers somehow, causing the truck to crash and resulting in Montilla’s death.
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