Argentina: The horrendous face of famine

Children die of malnutrition in Argentina

During the last week four children died of malnutrition in the Northern Argentine Province of Tucuman. The situation has shaken the population as, according with health specialists, the number of cases have increased considerably and hospitals cannot provide basic services to attend the extraordinary demand in the poorest areas of the country.

Quoting official stats, Tucuman's Minister of Health, Enrique Zamudio, estimates malnutrition reaches 20% of children under six years countrywide. Overcrowded hospitals receive no less than two  starved children a day. In addition, the almost total lack of instrumental and even food, makes impossible to counterattack worrying levels of childhood mortality.

Also, corruption in the National social assistance programmes does not allow funds to flow from Buenos Aires to the most necessitated regions of the country. Such scandals are being constantly denounced by local inhabitants but authorities do not look like being interested on investigating themselves.

Argentina, according to the last independent researches, lives its worst-ever social crisis due to the notorious downfall of the neo-liberal policies pushed during the 1990s. This South American country, with food producing capacity to feed 300 million people annually, shows today a flagrant contradiction condemning over half of its population to poverty.

"I feel sad and ashamed" National Minister of Health, Mr. Gines Gonzalez Garcia, expressed, after news on the deaths became public. He also admitted "there are many more cases all along the country" and promised to launch a programme to assist hundred percent of the children in this situation.

The number of malnutrition cases in Argentina adds up to 260 thousand children; nothing strange in a country where 21% of its population is unemployed and one of each four lives in indigence. 
Hernan Etchaleco

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Author`s name Olga Savka