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The United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP) announced Thursday that the first shipment of food for Venezuelan school children arrived in the South American country, which suffers food shortages catalyzed by unilateral economic sanctions.
The WFP in April announced a deal with the government of President Nicolas Maduro to reach 185,000 children in 2021 and expand to 1.5 million by the end of the 2022-2023 school year.
According to the WFP, the first 42,000 food packages including rice, lentils, salt and vegetable oil shall be distributed to children under six in areas affected by food insecurity in Maracaibo, Venezuela's second-largest city.
Given the current closure of Venezuelan schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the packages will be distributed as take-home packages.
��La pandemia de #COVID19 está en un “momento muy peligroso” por la variante #Delta, alerta la OMS
��El Programa Mundial de Alimentos comienza la distribución de comida para niños en #Venezuela
"The #COVID19 pandemic is at a "very dangerous point" because of the #Delta variant, WHO warns. The World Food Program begins food distribution for children in #Venezuela. Rapporteur denounces threats against judges in #Guatemala."
WFP plans to manage its own supply chain given that Venezuela's political opposition has tried to accuse the government of conditioning state food assistance on political loyalty, a claim which the Bolivarian government rotundly denies.
Numerous attempts at negotiations proceeded the final agreement between WFP and the Venezuelan government in April 2021 to distribute food to areas and populations in need. The move was analyzed by some experts and diplomats as an olive branch as the Venezuelan government seeks to persuade the United States and other nations to lift economic and commercial sanctions aimed at ousting the country's legitimate and democratically-elected government.