As the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate in Venezuela, both the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that they are willing to get involved if called upon by the government, according to Yahoo News.
The Venezuelan economy shrunk by 18% last year, and is forecasted to shrink by another 25% this year. More urgently, millions of Venezuelans are struggling to get enough to eat, millions more have fled the country, health care has become exceedingly difficult to access, schools are vacant, and families are increasingly having trouble accessing water and sanitation.
An intervention by the two global financial institutions in the form of loans and other measures could help to temporarily stabilize the country, but they can’t act until requested by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
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"The bank will be involved as the situation evolves and the bank is preparing for that, but the situation is still very troublesome on the ground in Venezuela," World Bank Group president David Malpass said at a news conference at the organization’s Spring Meetings in Washington, DC, on Thursday.
Christine Lagarde, the president of the IMF, said at a separate press conference is “drawing on information that is out there, in order to be prepared to act as quickly as we can."
Venezuela has been hesitant to work with the groups in the past because of their tendency to impose austerity demands on countries that accept aid, according to Yahoo. For example, if a country receives a loan, then they may have to prioritize the repayment of that loan over spending on areas like education, health care, and housing.
The uncertainty surrounding the country’s leadership also presents an obstacle to providing aid.
Dozens of countries, including the United States, have acknowledged Juan Guaidó, the head of Venezuela's congress, as the president after he declared himself the interim president, claiming the current president Nicolas Maduro is illegitimate.
Maduro, for his part, is still the country’s acting president and has the support of countries such as China and Russia.
One positive development is the growing presence of the International Red Cross in the country. The global relief organization recently tripled its budget for the country after Maduro finally allowed humanitarian organizations to provide aid.
The need for aid becomes more acute every day. A new report by Human Rights Watch and John Hopkins says that infectious diseases are rapidly rising in the country, as maternal and childhood mortality rates.
"More will be done in the coming weeks and months,”said ICRC President Peter Maurer in a statement. “It's not only about this snapshot in time or the assistance we can deliver. It’s about helping Venezuelans move forward with their lives in a sustainable way."