Venezuela is facing its worst food crisis of all time after it has been hit by the fall in oil prices. People are protesting across the country against elusive delivery of groceries. Not only the lower classes but people who were previously regarded as middle class are  now digging up for food in trash heaps.

Early in the morning, unemployed people gather around trash heaps to dig out rotten fruits and vegetables tossed out by nearby shops. These people are mostly small business owners, college students and pensioners. They still consider themselves middle class though their standards of living have long been degraded by the continuous inflation, food shortages and a collapsing currency, as per CBS News.

Julio Noguera used to work in a bakery but now spends most of his evening searching for food in the garbage. He said, “I come here looking for food because if I didn’t, I’d starve to death, with things like they are, no one helps anyone and no one gives away meals.”

During the administration of President Hugo Chavez the crisis in the country was under control. However with the new government,  a study by three leading Caracas university has indicated that 76 percent people of the country are now below the poverty line.

Carlos Aponte, a sociology professor at the Central University of Venezuela, said, “We’re seeing terrible sacrifices across many sections of society. A few years ago, Venezuela didn’t have the kind of extreme poverty that would drive people to eat garbage.”

More and more people are now depending on fruit trees for food. Now not only the children but also workers are trying to get fruits from trees during their lunch break, reported CBC News.

Meanwhile, the government has stated that it has imported thousands of tons of basic food stuff and those would be distributed through communal councils to family homes. Food Minister, Rodolfo Marco Torres said that the government would supply 70% of the country’s food in this way.

President Nicolas Maduro has accused private food production companies as well as the supermarkets for the food crisis, stated a BBC news report.

Venezuela was once considered the richest nation in South America, but the fall in oil prices along with other economic problems has brought down the country to its present state. Fifty percent of people in the country cannot even afford three meals a day now, a recent poll by local firm Venebarometro showed.