The bishops of Peru have launched a campaign to collect funds to provide for the basic needs of Venezuelan refugees living in the country.
The Peruvian bishops’ conference announced the collection will take place June 3, during the day's scheduled Masses.
According to Caritas International, about four million people have left Venezuela due to the grave economic crisis marked by a major shortage of food and medicine under the socialist government of Nicolas Maduro, the president of the country since 2013. Maduro was re-elected May 20 in questionable elections.
Maduro is the hand-picked successor of socialist president Hugo Chavez.
The main destination of the millions of refugees is Colombia, along with other countries such as Peru, Chile, and Argentina.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies stated that the average Venezuelan lost about 24 pounds in 2017, in a population where almost 90 percent live below the poverty line.
The lack of medicine has caused an resurgence of diphtheria and an increase in measles and malaria, diseases that had almost been eradicated in Venezuela.
Cases of Malaria have skyrocketed while measles has claimed the lives of 26 children just in the Orinoco Delta area.
Venezuela closed 2017 with an inflation rate of 2,616 percent and a drop in Gross National Product of 15 percent. The International Monetary Fund forecasts inflation at 14,000 percent for 2018 which would be the highest index of inflation among emerging markets for this year and the next.
This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.