Report: Starving Venezuelan Refugees Compete with Vultures for Brazil’s Trash

PACARAIMA, Brazil (Reuters) - Surrounded by vultures perched on trees awaiting their turn, Venezuelan migrants scrape out a living scavenging for metal, plastic, cardboard and food in a Brazilian border town’s rubbish dump.
Reuters TV

Venezuelan refugees in Brazil have found themselves competing with vultures for trash in a rubbish dump, according to a report from Reuters on Thursday.

The scavengers, among the millions of Venezuelans suffering amid country’s ongoing humanitarian crisis, scramble for bags of rush unloaded at the Pacaraima landfill site in Boa Vista close to the Venezuelan border.

They are mainly looking for scrap metals which they can then sell on for a profit, but many also look for food or sanitary products within the trash bags.

Sometimes the garbage is delivered at night, meaning they need to use headlamps. Vultures, effective scavengers of dead animals, perched on nearby trees also await their turn.

“I left because I was dying of hunger. We are trying to get ahead looking through this rubbish. Every night I pray to God to take me out of here,” 23-year-old mother Rosemary Tovar told the agency.

“We are looking for copper and cans, and hopefully something valuable, even food,” added Astrid Prado, who is eight months pregnant. “My goal is to get out of here. Nobody wants to spend their life going through garbage.”

Millions of Venezuelans live in a state of abject poverty as a result of skyrocketing rates of inflation that has left most people unable to afford basic living essentials. Traveling through the streets of many of Venezuela’s major cities, one regularly sees people, including children, sifting through rubbish bags for leftovers.

The report is one of the countless horror stories to come out of the socialist-controlled country amid the worst economic crisis in its history. There have been multiple cases of starving people eating their pets, zoo animals, and other human beings.

A report by Human Rights Watch last November found that around 80 percent of Venezuelans are now short of food, while rates of practically every major health condition have skyrocketed at a time where there are little resources to treat them. Well over two million Venezuelans have fled the country since 2015. A recent study by the Brookings Institute estimated that 8.2 million will leave within the next four years if the socialist regime is not removed.

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