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People collect water from a stream in Avila National Park during rolling blackouts, which affects the water pumps in people's homes and apartment buildings, in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, March 10, 2019. Venezuelans reached new levels of desperation Sunday as the country’s worst blackouts took their toll, gathering in larger numbers than usual at springs in the mountains of Caracas to collect water and scrounging for scarce cash to pay for food in the few shops that were open.
Eduardo Verdugo/AP
Finance & Innovation

World Bank and International Monetary Fund Say They're Prepared to Help With Venezuela Crisis

Why Global Citizens Should Care
The humanitarian crisis in Venezuela has made life precarious for millions of people who are unable to access food, health care, and water and sanitation. Recently more aid has arrived in the country, which could ease some of the suffering. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.

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.

Take Action: Help Kids Facing Conflict and Crisis Stay in School

"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.

Read More: 7 Things You Should Know About the Crisis in Venezuela

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.

Read More: Venezuelan Crisis Will Put 1.1 Million Children in Need of Assistance, UN Says

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."