Rising poverty, child malnutrition, the impact of COVID-19, forced mass migration, food insecurity, and the deterioration of the quality of life in Venezuela were some of the issues evaluated in the most recent edition of the “Survey of Living Conditions in Venezuela, Encovi 2019-2020”, conducted by researchers from UCAB, UCV and USB. This study was discussed by the deputies of the National Assembly, during the ordinary on-line session held on Tuesday.
Less money to eat
The round of interventions included the participation of Parliamentarian María Teresa Pérez, who explained that the results of the Encovid 2019-2020 Survey reflect that 96.3% of Venezuelan households are poor according to their income, in other words, “they don’t have money to buy enough food at a market.
In relation to food insecurity, statistics indicate that 79% of the Venezuelan population does not have how to cover the food basket and 68% presents consumption poverty, that is, “they eat only twice a day,” which indicates that 1 out of every 4 households is food insecure.
Most malnourished children
Similarly, the study indicates that 30% of Venezuelan children are chronically malnourished and 21% of children under five are acutely malnourished. In this sense, Parliamentarian Pérez described these results as “the most serious of the survey”.
As a result, Parliamentarian Karin Salanova, vice-president of the Permanent Family Commission, said that 639,000 children under 5 years of age suffer from chronic malnutrition.
She explained that during the first years of life, children need more nutrients, proteins and calories that are fundamental for their healthy growth and development. However, he pointed out that due to the crisis, it is impossible for them to comply with their proper diet.
In view of this situation, the deputy said that since the referred instance, continue to warn of the increase in child malnutrition rate
Impact of COVID-19
As a result, Representative Jesús Yánez highlighted several essential points of the study, among which he specified the impact of COVID-19 on the economy of Venezuelans, which, as a result of voluntary or absolute confinement for the prevention of the disease, caused an increase in unemployment of 6.9% that has notably affected the commercial sector and the loss of the little purchasing power of “ordinary Venezuelans.”
Likewise, he indicated that the reception of remittances sent by family members abroad has diminished, especially the elderly who are vulnerable to the reduction of almost 4% of their income from remittances.
Increase in extreme poverty
Meanwhile, Congressman Marco Bozo, president of the Permanent Commission for Social Development of the National Assembly, stressed that the study shows the parameters of the current Venezuelan reality and confirms that extreme poverty in Venezuela, from the point of view of economic income,” when one observes that the average daily income of the population is 0.60 dollars,” whose wage income is indicated as “extreme poverty” by international organizations.
For Congresswoman Dignora Hernández, the survey on “living conditions” confirms that the country “faces the highest poverty recorded in its history,” as predicted by studies conducted in previous years, which confirm “the consolidation of the policy of hunger that advanced the socialism of the 21st century,” and therefore “today, generated a new social stratification in Venezuela.”
Similarly, parliamentarian Daniel Antequera warned that the vertiginous increase in poverty, food insecurity, and child and adult malnutrition, according to the conclusions of the statistics, could cause “irreparable damage for millions of Venezuelans, who today are victims of a very precarious system coupled with social control that plays with hunger, originating a more dangerous and agonizing situation in the country.”
Forced Mass Migration
In his speech, parliamentarian Carlos Valero recognized the courage of the researchers from the UCV, UCAB and USB, who in the face of the opacity of the regime, presented this survey, which allows us to know the real statistics on the living conditions of Venezuelans.
He reiterated that “approximately 96% of the population is in income impoverished, that is, they have less than what they need to live on in terms of salary, specifically, Venezuelans earn 72 cents on the dollar daily.
“Today, Venezuela, with the largest oil reserves in the world, is the poorest in Latin America, and enters at levels comparable to the poorest countries on the planet,” said Valero who recalled that 5 million Venezuelans have emigrated to other nations to escape the hunger crisis caused by Nicolas Maduro’s regime.
A New Demography
Previously, Deputy Valero, with the authorization of President Juan Guaidó, invited Professor Luis Pedro España, to participate in the virtual session, who elaborated on the results of the survey, which evaluates the social situation of the population during the unprecedented crisis that the country is going through.
Through a video, he showed the statistical results of Encovid’s research that included thirteen dimensions regarding the crisis in Venezuela, carried out between November 2019 and March 2020, where approximately 10,000 Venezuelan households were interviewed, allowing for the collection of information provided by 33,000 people.
He explained the demographic changes that the country has suffered due to the impact of Venezuelan migration, according to projections and demographic estimates of population in the 2011 census by the National Institute of Statistics, which reveals that there are 28 million inhabitants, 4 million less than expected, as a result of the combination of the emigration of people between 15 and 39 years old, a lower number of births and an increase in mortality.
The study indicates that transfers of government resources or subsidies have not had an impact on poverty reduction.
It warned that with the numbers of those infected increasing and with a foreseeable increase in deaths from COVID-19, Venezuela is entering a deepening humanitarian crisis and warned that poverty levels due to reduced consumption may be increasing.
Prof. España stressed that there is no way of knowing the size of the health crisis that is coming as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the initial economic effect reflects the fact that 70% of Venezuelan households reported food prices as the main impact. The loss of employment due to mobility restrictions increased nationally, with 43% of the country’s households reporting inability to work or loss of income.