This Humanitarian Crisis is Worse than You Think!
What is Happening
The Venezuelan economic crisis has turned into a full-blown humanitarian disaster. The country’s currency, the bolivar, has devalued to point of being worthless and inflation has now pushed food prices to the point where two-thirds of all Venezuelans cannot afford to pay for even one meal a day. Schools have shut down because children are so weakened by hunger that they cannot attend and many children are dying of malnutrition. Grocery store shelves are bare and the poor have lost an average of 20 pounds per person this year alone. Inflation is predicted to hit 1,000,000%, as 31 million people teeter towards disaster.
Stories from Family Members
Ram Krishan Kaur Khalsa is part of the Sikh Community in Española, NM, USA. She has family who live and work in Venezuela. Her aunt, Rebeca Rubiano, works in the pediatrics wing of a local hospital in Venezuela. (We cannot share the name of the hospital in order to protect their safety, due to the rampant crime surrounding humanitarian aid in Venezuela).
She reports that the situation at the hospital is dire. Basic medicines, such as antibiotics, IV liquids, and bandages are nearly impossible to find. Children are dying on a daily basis because of lack of basic medical supplies. She sees many children with serious conditions turned away to die because chemotherapy, x-rays, or other procedures are unaffordable. At this point, it is estimated that Venezuela is suffering from an 84% shortage of required medicines and medical supplies.
Rebeca reports that many of the children are severely malnourished and die of starvation in the hospital. Because of a lack of funds, often the hospital can only provide a single meal per day of a 1/2 cup of rice with milk. This is just not enough calories to keep children going and many just continue their slide towards the painful death of starvation.
Rebeca writes about 5-year-old Jhonayquer, who died this week of HIV because the hospital didn’t have any retroviral medication,
“Let’s remember Jhon with love. He is already in heaven with his mommy and his twin. All that remains is to keep working to help other dying children. Jhonayquer was my special little one – his life was very hard since the day he was born. He lived and died with poverty, lack of medicine, and sadness. He was only 5 years old and left the earth without knowing what it was to be a happy child.
Our children deserve to live in a land that covers their needs, a land where children do not have to sleep in hospital areas because they do not have a home, a land where people like you and me don’t have to walk crying to the four corners of the earth for every death of every new baby. I’m shattered, saddened, and really ashamed of the health crisis we are living through. We are looking for help wherever it can be found. Friends, it’s time to see the real face of this situation – Please don’t turn away because this tragedy will not be passing soon.”
What We are Doing to Help
Ram Krishan Kaur has started raising money to send to her aunt to buy food and Sikh Dharma International has joined in this effort. Despite the shortages, Rebeca has located food sources where she can buy 5 kilos of rice and beans for a US dollar. Every penny counts and every little bit goes a long way to help save a life. We have a secure method to send money directly to Rebeca, which she can access in a way that will not draw unwanted and unsafe attention. So, you can be assured that all your donations go right to the source.
It is hard to fathom the pain and suffering these children and their families are going through – most of us will never know the true meaning of hunger. When we see their photos and hear their stories, we feel despair and it can seem overwhelming. There are so many people in the world going through terrible situations, how can we truly have an impact?
We have set up a fundraising page to help this cause. This is a very real way that we can help people on the ground in Venezuela reach these dying children to provide the assistance they need and prevent others from getting to such a dire state. We are grateful for this opportunity to help in a very real way. After all, we are Sikhs and feeding people is what we do!
We Need Your Help Too!
We hope you will join us in saving these children. Let’s work together with Rebeca to feed the children at her hospital. All money raised goes directly to purchase food to be prepared and served at this hospital.