CRS History in Venezuela
In December 1999, two weeks of torrential rains caused serious flooding and mudslides along the country's northern coast, affecting nearly 600,000 people. Thousands of people were washed out to sea or buried deep beneath the rubble of the landslides. This was Venezuela's worst natural disaster.
The Government of Venezuela declared a State of Emergency for the entire northern region of the country. Nearly 75 percent of the nation's population lives along the coastal areas, those most affected by the flooding. Damages are now estimated at over $3.2 billion dollars.
The heavy flooding caused job loss, mainly in the tourism area. Mudslides from steep coastline areas carried rocks, boulders, homes and virtually everything in their path out to sea. Transportation to affected areas was nearly impossible. Many bridges and roads were either destroyed or buried. Many of the country's water and sanitation facilities were damaged or wiped-out, and an estimated 25,000 homes were ruined.
CRS does not currently have an office in Venezuela. Five CRS staff (from the nearby CRS/Dominican Republic office) and approximately 18 staff from the Caritas Venezuela and Caritas diocesan offices manage the project in Venezuela. CRS has been working in Venezuela since January 2000.