Organization of American States
December 23, 1999
OAS COODINATING INTER-AMERICAN ASSISTANCE TO VENEZUELA
At a special meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) Permanent Council today, Permanent Representatives of OAS member states expressed their solidarity with Venezuelans and passed a resolution urging the OAS Secretary General to "continue contributing to the rescue and reconstruction efforts underway in the affected areas".
As well, a number of governmentsGuyana, Canada, and the United Statesannounced new funding for Venezuelan disaster relief efforts at this special meeting.
Venezuelan Ambassador Virginia Contreras presented a detailed update of the extent of the tragedy and thanked OAS member states for the aid that has thus far been received.
" Only countries that suffer (natural disasters)," said Ambassador Contreras, "can appreciate the importance of this Committee [for the Reduction of Natural Disasters, which is coordinated by the OAS, and includes PAHO and other InterAmerican organizations] in directing, channeling and coordinating a number of efforts that we in Venezuela we not able to handle, given the suddenness of events "
A complete video clip of Ambassador Contreras remarks are available at the OAS website