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Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil offer food for Guatemala

By Tom Johnson 9-17-09

Mexico, Brazil and Venezuela are responding to Guatemala's plea for help in coping with a food shortage.

President Alvaro Colom says Venezuela and Mexico offered to send rice and other basic grains. Colom says Brazil also offered help, but did not give details.

Guatemala estimates 400,000 families are "at risk of food insecurity" due to adverse weather, poor soil and economic troubles. The government says 25 children have died since January from malnutrition.

The World Food Program will distribute 20 tons of nutritional cookies in the worst-hit areas.

Colom announced the new offers of help on Wednesday, a week after he declared "a state of public calamity" to help mobilize resources.