Also at risk are thousands of children suffering from severe malnutrition.
"We have seen children dying in Caracas from malnutrition. Mothers have nothing to feed their children," Gottenger said. "I have documented cases. For example, in the El Llanito Hospital (in Caracas), at least eight children have died recently from malnutrition. And if that's the way it is in the capital, how would it be in the rest of the country?"
Caritas, the Catholic charity organization, has reported that 11.4 percent of Venezuelan children under the age of 5 suffer from moderate or severe malnutrition, higher than the World Health Organization's mark of 10 percent for declaring a state of emergency.
"We are extremely worried," said Janeth Marquez, director of Caritas Venezuela.
"Our findings clearly show that the general levels of malnutrition are rising, and have reached crisis proportion for children," she said. "If we don't act fast, it will be very difficult for these children to some day return to their growth curve."
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