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Malnutrition in Venezuela at humanitarian crisis level, Caritas says

With soaring food prices and a free-falling economy, child malnutrition in Venezuela has crossed the threshold of a humanitarian crisis, the local chapter of Caritas Internationalis said.

The latest figures from a Caritas Venezuela report published on 16th May show that in four states, including the country’s capital, Caracas, 11.4 per cent of children under the age of five ‘are suffering either from moderate or severe acute malnutrition’.

“We are extremely worried, which is why we are going public with this series of reports. We have been monitoring levels of malnutrition and providing assistance to under-fives since October across four states: Distrito Capital, Vargas, Miranda and Zulia,” said Janeth Marquez, director of Caritas Venezuela.

The number rises to 48 per cent when children under five, who ‘are at risk or suffering lower levels of malnutrition, are included,’ the report stated.

“You see the wasting and in some cases the edema – all the classic images of starving children. In the villages, it’s the children who are worst affected, but also the adults are very wasted,” said Susana Raffalli, a humanitarian specialist in food emergencies for Caritas Venezuela.

Picture: A woman displays a sign reading ‘Maduro is hunger’ during a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on 15th May in Caracas. The latest figures from a Caritas Venezuela report published on 16th May show that in four states, including the country’s capital, Caracas, 11.4 per cent of children under the age of five ‘are suffering either from moderate or severe acute malnutrition’. (CNS photo//Marco Bello, Reuters).