Deteriorating economy in Venezuela leaves families scavenging for food

World Today

For many Venezuelan families looking for food, the garbage bin has taken the place of the grocery store. It’s a survival strategy to ward off starvation.

CGTN’s Juan Carlos Lamas has the details.

It’s a new day and a new set of challenges for Angela Allende. For four months now, she’s been feeding herself, her husband and their five children with the scraps she finds in garbage bins, outside restaurants, shopping malls and supermarkets.

“The worst part of all this, is to see my children scavenging for food. It breaks my heart. My life changed in a blink of an eye,”said Angela Allende who’s a mother of 5.

Allende’s life changed dramatically after the family, who employed her as housekeeper, left the country. She’s been unable to find another job, and her disabled husband is also out of work. So Angela takes the younger children and travels by train an hour and a half each way, to the capital, looking for food.

“My children and I, sadly for now, need to stay here almost all day waiting for someone to take pity on us and give us something to eat,” Allende said.

Venezuela is suffering from triple digit inflation and severe shortages of food. People wait for hours outside supermarkets often finding no staples on the shelves once they get inside.

For Venezuelans with little or no income, scavenging from the garbage has become a lilfeline. One recent survey shows 8 percent of Venezuelans — that’s 2.4 million people — admit they are eating food they’ve collected from the trash.

Sometimes there’s meat or enough to feed the family, but Angela Allende says, no matter what they find, digging for food in the garbage is always humiliating.

“The only thing I want is to wake up one day and realize this nightmare is over, that neither I nor anyone else has to eat from the trash,” Allende said.

For Angela and her children, some days are better than others .but for the foreseeable future, most of their meals will come from what’s discarded by others.