Long lines form for EU aid packages

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It was evident Tuesday that large numbers of Latvian residents are living on the breadline as lines of people formed for handouts at 480 distribution points across the country, reported Latvian Radio's Vita Anstrate.


The aid packages from the European Union contain basic foodstuffs. In some cases the large numbers of pensioners, unemployed and other socially deprived people standing for an aid package meant many had to return home empty-handed. 

At the Gaiziņa street distribution point operated by the Latvian Red Cross behind Riga's Central Market people queued throughout the day. 

During the first two hours, about 150 needy persons received European food packages. 

However, some expressed frustration that the rules governing precisely who could claim aid had changed.

Pensioner Anatoly said: "They are only giving out to people who have a pension of less than 120 euros. I have just a bit more than that, so they don't give me anything."

The Red Cross' Ilona Luste said: "There were a lot of people, but some were unaware that these packages are only for those really in need. We went down the lines and told people the new rules for distribution. Obviously there was a lot of frustration and discontent."

One of the recipients of a package, Larissa, said they made a big difference even though they only contained basics such s buckwheat, rice, pasta and oats.

"It means the money you save on these foods can be spent on other things - maybe medication or summer clothes for children. It's not a lot but it is enough to make a difference," Larissa said

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