Photos: Argentine soup kitchen puts food on the table as poverty deepens

The giant pots simmering in Dagna Aiva's kitchen explain the long line of people outside her house located in a gritty district of southern Buenos Aires, where Argentina's economic crisis is hitting locals hard. Talk of stock markets and the strength of the safe-haven dollar is a risible middle-class obsession -- here the priority is simply putting food on the table. Argentina's economic tailspin has seen the peso lose half its value, unemployment soar and the economy shrink by 5.8% in the first quarter. One of the crisis' most troubling statistics… five million children and adolescents plunged into a "critical food situation."

Updated On Sep 13, 2019 11:37 AM IST 10 Photos
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A view of the Villa 21-24 shantytown, where Dagna Aiva’s soup kitchen feeds people hit hard by the economic crisis in Buenos Aires. Aiva feeds 200 people a day from those steaming pots in Villa 21-24, the urban coalface of Argentina’s economic crisis. (Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP)

A view of the Villa 21-24 shantytown, where Dagna Aiva’s soup kitchen feeds people hit hard by the economic crisis in Buenos Aires. Aiva feeds 200 people a day from those steaming pots in Villa 21-24, the urban coalface of Argentina’s economic crisis. (Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP)

Updated on Sep 13, 2019 11:37 AM IST
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A long, silent line forms in the alley outside as women with toddlers, the elderly and disabled shuffle up to her kitchen door, shopping bags ready to take away food. Inside, women wearing aprons and hair covers ladle meat and vegetables from the pots into Tupperware containers. (Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP)

A long, silent line forms in the alley outside as women with toddlers, the elderly and disabled shuffle up to her kitchen door, shopping bags ready to take away food. Inside, women wearing aprons and hair covers ladle meat and vegetables from the pots into Tupperware containers. (Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP)

Updated on Sep 13, 2019 11:37 AM IST
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Women prep a meal at the soup kitchen. Argentines have seen their earnings, savings and purchasing power diminished. “I don’t have any dollars, what can they do for me? There are other basic needs I have to find a solution for,” says Aiva. “We must give priority to other things, to pay the day to day, to eat every day,” the 48-year-old activist adds. (Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP)

Women prep a meal at the soup kitchen. Argentines have seen their earnings, savings and purchasing power diminished. “I don’t have any dollars, what can they do for me? There are other basic needs I have to find a solution for,” says Aiva. “We must give priority to other things, to pay the day to day, to eat every day,” the 48-year-old activist adds. (Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP)

Updated on Sep 13, 2019 11:37 AM IST
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Avia’s home houses the local social centre called “Casa Usina de Suena,” which translates as “Dream Factory” -- a space that includes a picnic area and provides academic support for children. “Here, it’s full of people who work a lot, it’s sad to see that they cannot have enough to eat,” said Avia, gazing out at the polluted Riachuelo river, which borders the barrio. (Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP)

Avia’s home houses the local social centre called “Casa Usina de Suena,” which translates as “Dream Factory” -- a space that includes a picnic area and provides academic support for children. “Here, it’s full of people who work a lot, it’s sad to see that they cannot have enough to eat,” said Avia, gazing out at the polluted Riachuelo river, which borders the barrio. (Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP)

Updated on Sep 13, 2019 11:37 AM IST
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A woman serves food at the soup kitchen. Argentina-- South America’s second-largest economy and a land of contradictions with a widening gap between rich and poor -- is also one of the continent’s three countries where hunger has increased in 2018, alongside Venezuela and Guatemala. An average basket of household goods costs 4,200 pesos – 57% higher than in July last year, and well above wage increases. (Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP)

A woman serves food at the soup kitchen. Argentina-- South America’s second-largest economy and a land of contradictions with a widening gap between rich and poor -- is also one of the continent’s three countries where hunger has increased in 2018, alongside Venezuela and Guatemala. An average basket of household goods costs 4,200 pesos – 57% higher than in July last year, and well above wage increases. (Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP)

Updated on Sep 13, 2019 11:37 AM IST
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People walk at the Villa 21-24 shantytown. President Mauricio Macri, seeking re-election in October, had promised to reach the goal of “zero poverty” during his term. Instead, poverty has deepened to reach 32% of the population, according to official figures. (Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP)

People walk at the Villa 21-24 shantytown. President Mauricio Macri, seeking re-election in October, had promised to reach the goal of “zero poverty” during his term. Instead, poverty has deepened to reach 32% of the population, according to official figures. (Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP)

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A man brings food ingredients to Aiva’s soup kitchen. Likewise, Macri -- forced to seek a $57 billion bailout from the IMF last year -- has failed to tame inflation, now running at over 50%, and his government has recognized that the country’s 10% unemployment rate will worsen. Trade unions and social organizations, as well as the Catholic Church and opposition parties, have demanded the government declare a “food emergency.” (Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP)

A man brings food ingredients to Aiva’s soup kitchen. Likewise, Macri -- forced to seek a $57 billion bailout from the IMF last year -- has failed to tame inflation, now running at over 50%, and his government has recognized that the country’s 10% unemployment rate will worsen. Trade unions and social organizations, as well as the Catholic Church and opposition parties, have demanded the government declare a “food emergency.” (Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP)

Updated on Sep 13, 2019 11:37 AM IST
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Women serve food at the soup kitchen. The government has refused so far. “There are situations of poverty, but that does not mean that there is hunger,” Culture Minister Pablo Avelluto said. The six women who distribute food from Avia’s kitchen receive a supplementary salary from the state, equivalent to half the minimum wage, 7,500 pesos ($110 currently). It’s hardly enough to get by. (Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP)

Women serve food at the soup kitchen. The government has refused so far. “There are situations of poverty, but that does not mean that there is hunger,” Culture Minister Pablo Avelluto said. The six women who distribute food from Avia’s kitchen receive a supplementary salary from the state, equivalent to half the minimum wage, 7,500 pesos ($110 currently). It’s hardly enough to get by. (Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP)

Updated on Sep 13, 2019 11:37 AM IST
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A woman prepares a takeaway pot with food at the soup kitchen. Municipal authorities supply enough meat and vegetables every day to make 160 meals, but the women say they manage to stretch their supplies out to feed 200. The IMF is expected to disburse the latest tranche of the loan, $5.4 billion, this month. (Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP)

A woman prepares a takeaway pot with food at the soup kitchen. Municipal authorities supply enough meat and vegetables every day to make 160 meals, but the women say they manage to stretch their supplies out to feed 200. The IMF is expected to disburse the latest tranche of the loan, $5.4 billion, this month. (Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP)

Updated on Sep 13, 2019 11:37 AM IST
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The favorite to win next month’s election, leftist candidate Alberto Fernandez, has repeatedly assured the IMF that Argentina would meet its debt obligation, but not at the expense of the people. The vote in areas like Villa 21-24 is likely to be overwhelmingly pro-Fernandez, as Argentina’s poor hope for some respite. For them, the priority remains putting the next meal on table. (Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP)

The favorite to win next month’s election, leftist candidate Alberto Fernandez, has repeatedly assured the IMF that Argentina would meet its debt obligation, but not at the expense of the people. The vote in areas like Villa 21-24 is likely to be overwhelmingly pro-Fernandez, as Argentina’s poor hope for some respite. For them, the priority remains putting the next meal on table. (Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP)

Updated on Sep 13, 2019 11:37 AM IST
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