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Friday, 13 September, 2002, 18:47 GMT 19:47 UK
Argentina's children starve
Child at a protest in Buenos Aires
Argentina's future generations are in danger

Argentina used to be one the richest countries in the developing world.

Today it is facing an unprecedented social crisis eight months after the economy collapsed.


We know that some children are dying at home because their parents don't have the money to get them to hospital

Doctor Eugenia Roble
Malnutrition is widespread and in remote rural areas of the country children are dying from starvation.

The province of Tucuman, in the northwest, is one of the worst affected areas.

Silvana Rojas is expecting twins shortly. She lives in a shack on the outskirts of the city of Tucuman.

"I am scared about the future", she says with tears in her eyes.

"We can't feed the children we have got, so I don't know what is going to happen when the other two arrive''.

Her three children, with their swollen bellies and spindly legs, are clearly suffering from severe malnutrition.

Extreme poverty

A few kilometres away is the Children's Hospital, where ill children from the whole northwest are brought.

"We know that some children are dying at home because their parents don't have the money to get them to hospital", says Doctor Eugenia Roble.

Argentine boy at a hunger protest
A quarter of the population now lives in extreme poverty

There are no official statistics but the doctors believe that there are around 20,000 severely malnourished children in this region alone.

Nine million people - one quarter of the population - are now estimated by the government to be living in extreme poverty, without enough money to buy essential food.

Argentina is the fifth biggest exporter of agricultural produce in the world but much of the food it produces lies beyond the reach of the poor.

Food prices have increased about 70% so far this year.

This is largely because after the huge devaluation of the local currency at the beginning of the year farmers find it more profitable to export their crops rather than sell them on the local market.


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06 Sep 02 | Business
23 May 01 | Americas
30 Nov 01 | Americas
19 Jul 02 | Country profiles
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