UN official warns of humanitarian ‘catastrophe’ in Venezuela
Associated Press
2018-03-13 12:51:16

In this February 22, 2018 photo, a couple looks at a bag made out of Venezuelan Bolivars in La Parada, Colombia, on the border with Venezuela. Each collector item produced by Richard Segovia (sitting beside the table) fetches between $10 and $15 — a huge markup from the pennies that bolivars retrieve on Venezuela’s black market. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

BOGOTA, Colombia — A senior United Nations official said Colombia needs international help as it struggles with a humanitarian “catastrophe” along its border from Venezuelans driven from their homes by hunger.

David Beasley, director of the World Food Program, made the remarks after meeting with refugees during a visit to Cucuta in eastern Colombia.

He told The Associated Press in an interview that the harrowing reports he heard makes raising awareness of the humanitarian crisis an urgent priority.

He said he would work with Colombia on a plan to feed the 50,000 Venezuelans entering the country each day to eat, as well as solicit funding from the United States and other nations to assist the relief effort.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, however, has characterized offers of humanitarian aid as an attempt to destabilize his rule.                   /kga

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