Venezuelans Face Weight Loss Due To Food Shortage

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Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. drastic / ˈdræs tɪk / (adj) – having a noticeable effect

    There was a drastic increase in demand for medicine last week.

  2. cope / koʊp / (v) – to deal with a difficult situation

    We need to learn how to cope with life’s challenges.

  3. adversely / ædˈvɜrs li / (adv) – in a negative way

    The typhoon has adversely affected the country.

  4. tough / tʌf / (adj) – difficult

    The political scandal left the country in a tough situation.

  5. propel / prəˈpɛl / (v) – to cause to move faster

    The new program aims to propel economic growth.


Read the text below.

Around 75% of Venezuelans suffered from an average weight loss of 19 lbs. as a result of food shortage in 2016.

A survey conducted among 6,500 families revealed that 32.5% of the population tend to skip certain meals in a day, a drastic increase from last year’s 11.3%. To cope with the crisis, Venezuelans have replaced red and white meat with vegetables and tubers, such as potatoes, in their meals.

The crisis has also adversely affected children. Over 1 million children are unable to attend school due to lack of food, water, and electricity. Those who miss classes for food-related reasons often stand in for their parents in long food lines.

Although an oil-producing nation, Venezuela has been experiencing tough times since Nicolás Maduro took over the country’s leadership after the death of President Hugo Chávez in 2013. During Chavez’ term, his programs depended mainly on oil exports for growth, and on imports for basic goods and services. However, the decrease in oil prices around the world weakened the country’s economy and propelled its inflation rate close to 700% last year. In addition, Venezuela’s economic crisis has prevented the country from importing goods since the government can no longer afford to do so, which has contributed heavily to the food shortage.

In March, Maduro announced that he sought the help of the United Nations in addressing the shortages that the country has been facing due to the economic crisis.

Aside from a lack of food, Venezuelans are also facing medicine shortages. Data from the Pharmaceutical Federation of Venezuela revealed that only 20% of basic medical supplies are available in the country.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• What can other countries do to help Venezuela?
• What actions can the Venezuelan government do to address the country’s food shortage?

Discussion B

• Aside from economic problems, what other factors cause hunger?
• What are the negative effects of hunger?