(Washington, DC, April 4, 2019) – The combination of severe medicine and food shortages within Venezuela, together with the spread of disease across the country’s borders, amounts to a complex humanitarian emergency that requires a full-scale response by the United Nations secretary-general, researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Venezuelan authorities during the presidency of Nicolás Maduro have proven unable to stem the crisis, and have in fact exacerbated it through their efforts to suppress information about the scale and urgency of the problems.

The 71-page report, “Venezuela’s Humanitarian Emergency: Large-Scale UN Response Needed to Address Health and Food Crises,” documents increased numbers of maternal and infant deaths; the unchecked spread of vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles and diphtheria; and sharp increases in the transmission of infectious diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis in Venezuela. Available data shows high levels of food insecurity and child malnutrition, as well as of hospital admissions of malnourished children.