Vulnerable groups threatened in Argentina as southern winter approaches

Published: 10 April 2002

More than 15 million people are now estimated to be living in poverty in Argentina and many of the traditional support structures for the poor such as communal soup kitchens have disappeared, according to an appeal launched today by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies seeking 1.8 million Swiss francs.

As the country prepares for a winter which will severely impact on vulnerable groups, like the elderly, the Argentine Red Cross plans to distribute food through soup kitchens, senior citizens' day centres, orphanages, schools and directly to needy families in some cases. An estimated 52,000 people will benefit from the food distribution programme supported by the appeal.

The Argentine Red Cross will also support the overstretched public health system by providing primary health care support in schools, community centres and centres for senior citizens.

"It is ten years since we have launched an appeal for Argentina and that was for floods. This time we are responding to unprecedented levels of poverty which will not disappear in the immediate future. We are particularly concerned about the effects that this coming winter will have on those living below the poverty line," said Luis Luna, International Federation desk officer for South America.For further information, or to set up interviews, please contact:

Denis McClean, Head of Media Service Tel: + 41 22 730 4428 / + 41 79 217 33 57