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Venezuela receives second shipment of Red Cross aid

The shipment of generators and medical supplies seeks to mitigate a severe shortage of drugs and hospital supplies in Venezuela, where the UN says a quarter of the population is in urgent need of aid (AFP Photo/YURI CORTEZ)

Caracas (AFP) - Venezuela Monday received a second shipment of Red Cross humanitarian aid, including 24 tonnes of medical supplies and generators provided by Panama, intended for hospitals to help address the country's acute health crisis.

In a statement, the Venezuelan Red Cross said it had received "medicines, medical supplies and power generators" that will be distributed in hospitals across the country, which is experiencing the worst crisis in its recent history.

Six trucks moved the supplies to a Red Cross warehouse in Caracas, an AFP journalist confirmed.

The shipment seeks to mitigate a severe shortage of drugs and hospital supplies in Venezuela, which has suffered more than four years of recession and hyper-inflation marked by shortages of basic necessities such as food and medicine.

The United Nations says a quarter of its 30 million population is in urgent need of aid.

The oil-rich South American nation has suffered the collapse of its vital crude production and runaway inflation that the IMF projects at 10 million percent this year.

Socialist President Nicolas Maduro authorized entry of the first Red Cross shipment in April after signing an agreement with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in the middle of a power struggle with opposition leader Juan Guaido.

The Red Cross said it sent the second shipment from its logistics center in Panama to the Venezuelan capital Caracas.

Guaido, speaker of the National Assembly and recognized as Venezuela's president by more than 50 countries, in February tried unsuccessfully to enter with donations from the United States, which Maduro denounced as a prelude to a US-led invasion.

The ICRC has warned that humanitarian aid will not solve the crisis-wracked country's problems.