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Lives at Stake

Severe Shortages of Medicine and Food in Venezuela's Humanitarian Crisis

Large groups of people line up to purchase difficult to find items, such as sugar, cooking oil, milk, rice, toilet paper, and baby diapers at price-controlled  prices during a government event in Caracas, January 24, 2015. 

© 2016 Meridith Kohut

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Venezuela is experiencing a profound humanitarian crisis. Severe shortages of medicines and medical supplies make it extremely difficult for many Venezuelans to obtain essential medical care. And severe shortages of food and other goods make it difficult for many people to obtain adequate nutrition and cover their families’ basic needs.

The Venezuelan government’s response to date has been woefully inadequate. Authorities deny the existence of a crisis. They have not articulated or implemented effective policies to alleviate it on their own, and have made only limited efforts to obtain international humanitarian assistance that could significantly bolster their own limited efforts.