The food security and nutrition crisis in Venezuela

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Original Article

As Venezuela's economic and political crises continues to evolve, hyperinflation, declining food production and food shortages are contributing to the deterioration of the food and nutrition situation. While official data is largely unavailable, food security and nutrition data from a variety of sources suggest that nearly the entire population is food insecure and that prevalence of acute malnutrition among children is reaching crisis levels in vulnerable populations. In the most recent national survey, 80% of households were food insecure and most households receiving government food assistance reported only occasional receipt. Prevalence of acute malnutrition among children under five increased in vulnerable communities across many states, surpassing serious or critical thresholds in multiple states. Hospitals across the country are reporting increases in both the number and proportion of pediatric consultations and admissions with acute malnutrition, and malnutrition deaths are increasingly common. Declining food security, increases in prevalence of acute malnutrition among children in vulnerable communities, rising pediatric hospital admissions with acute malnutrition and clinician reports of child deaths due to acute malnutrition are indicative of a crisis. The response to the nutrition and food security crisis to date has been limited. There is an urgent need to begin taking steps to address widespread food insecurityand to support treatment for children with acute malnutrition.

Highlights

•Venezuela's ongoing crisis has caused declines in food security and nutrition status.

•The majority of households cannot afford food, reduce meal size and report weight loss.

•Acute malnutrition prevalence surpasses thresholds for declaring an emergency in most states.

•Both pediatric hospital admissions and deaths from malnutrition are increasing.

•A humanitarian response is urgently needed to prevent further deterioration.


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