Venezuela to Donate $5m to Hurricane Harvey Relief

Aug 31st 2017
By Ryan Mallett-Outtrim

Venezuela announced Wednesday it will donate US$5 million to aid recovery efforts in the US states of Texas and Louisiana, which have been battered by the country’s worst hurricane in decades.

Venezuela announced Wednesday it will donate US$5 million to aid recovery efforts in the US states of Texas and Louisiana, which have been battered by the country’s worst hurricane in decades.

“Let’s not allow war or threats to be imposed, but instead let’s impose solidarity. We will always be with the people of the United States and the peoples of the world in difficult times,” Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said.

Arreaza explained Venezuela will work with local officials in Texas and Louisiana to determine how best to distribute the funds. He said the Foreign Ministry had also offered to send Venezuelan aid workers to the disaster zone, including doctors and emergency personnel.

In addition, Arreaza indicated that a percentage of all gasoline sales from Citgo will be dedicated to the construction of homes for victims of Hurricane Harvey, which has devastated much of Texas and Louisiana, including the US’ fourth largest city, Houston. Citgo is the US subsidiary of Venezuelan state oil firm PDVSA, and is based in Houston.

Hurricane Harvey has already claimed at least 31 lives, while leaving over 30,000 people in need of aid. The storm is expected to be the most expensive in US history, with private weather firm AccuWeather estimating it will cost US$190 billion – that’s equal to roughly 1 percent of US GDP.

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“Parts of Houston, the United States’ fourth largest city, will be uninhabitable for weeks and possibly months due to water damage, mold, disease-ridden water and all that will follow this 1,000-year flood,” AccuWeather head Joel Myers said.

Venezuela’s decision to aid Harvey victims came less than a week after US President Donald Trump unveiled new sanctions against Caracas, including financial bans targeting the government and PDVSA.

Venezuela has labelled the sanctions “illegal”, and warned they will hurt ordinary Venezuelans.