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A screenshot of hunger in Venezuela

HumVenezuela has just published Community Diagnostics (available only in Spanish), an initiative developed with the support of numerous organizations to collect information in 16 states that cover 86% of the country’s population. The merit of this informative survey is that it is carried out directly in the field, with primary sources, which allows a more direct idea of the dimensions and impact of the Complex Humanitarian Emergency suffered by Venezuelans.

The survey covers six areas: food, water, other basic services, health, basic education and human mobility, and was conducted between May and June 2021.

The first fact that is observed is that food insecurity continues to severely hit Venezuelan families. 59% of those surveyed affirmed that they buy food through the Local Supply and Production Committees (CLAP) system, a government program that aims to mitigate the effects of hyperinflation in the food sector through the sale of some products in the basic food basket.

The CLAP bags, however, increasingly bring less food, of lower quality and with less and unpredictable frequency, to which are added allegations of corruption ranging from the small scale (distributors at the community level, through Communal Councils), to multimillion-dollar international businesses (import monopolies contracted by the government).

Nearly 80% of those surveyed stated that they considered the amount of food they could obtain for their consumption as deficient. The low quantity of food purchased is accompanied by a lower quality, since the decrease in the intake of animal protein fell in percentages that oscillate between 46 and 70%. On the other hand, although the quantity and quality of food is lower, respondents spend two-thirds of their income on buying food, leaving only a third of their income for transport, services, clothing, education, housing and other expenses.

At least 15% of respondents said that one measure taken to mitigate the impact of food shortages was to reduce adult portions to cover children. However, deficiencies in the food sector are attacking children and adolescents more strongly. Respondents reported that among their family members there were people with some degree of nutritional deficit, finding that the most affected group is the 0- to 15-year-olds, where 60.6% of the deficit is reported.

Without a doubt, food insecurity and its effects on the most vulnerable sectors of the population are still one of the most overwhelming expressions of the Complex Humanitarian Emergency, with effect in other areas, such as education, as it leads to school dropouts and teacher absenteeism; and health, due to the impact generated by malnutrition and the loss of defenses to respond to certain diseases.

The screenshot of these two months of exploration on the intensity of the impacts of the Complex Humanitarian Emergency shows a scenario that continues to decline, where institutional and individual palliative measures are insufficient, and the accumulated damages are already irreversible for at least one generation.