Food riots and looting have become an everyday affair in Venezuela in the wake of acute shortages of essential items. According to the Venezuelan Observatory of Violence, more than 10 lootings occur every day.

The group's Social Conflict team estimated that out of 641 protests the country witnessed in the past one month, more than a quarter were related to the ongoing food crisis, a figure that has risen every month this year, Reuters reported.

One of the recent protests was held within blocks of the Miraflores presidential palace.

Tens of thousands of Venezuelans across the country are taking to the streets to fight for food, screaming they are hungry. Slum-dwellers and armed gangs attack trucks carrying food or supermarket stores to steal food at night.

According to Reuters, a young woman fainted in the heat as she as waiting among hundreds fighting for pasta, and a mother was shot dead when she attempted to flee from the police after several people tried to loot a warehouse.

At one of the recent demonstrations in the Caracas district of El Valle, around 200 people chanted: "We want food!" and "Loot it!" Some who were on the front line got lucky as they managed to secure two bags of pasta each.

"We're not eating. People are desperate for looting," a mother-of-three Miza Colmenares, said. She had spent a night waiting in a line and had not eaten since the previous day except for having eggs for breakfast.

Similar protests have been widely reported in the once oil-rich country that now teeters on the brink of collapse as global crude prices have plummeted.

Enraged by the unavailability of food anywhere, a retired man who was one among dozens of protesters in Caracas last week said: "What do I do with this money?"

"We're hungry. We want food. Expensive, cheap, imported, whatever. It doesn't matter. But we need food," AFP reported a protester as shouting.

"People are going out and looting because they're hungry. They can't find any food," said Robert Arcila, 22, who sells eggs on the street and was nearby when looters sacked a truck hauling sausages and cheese.

One woman, requesting anonymity, recounted her experience. "If you have a son who says, 'Mommy I want my bottle,' and you don't have milk to give him, in a moment like that you don't think of anything else and you grab everything you can for your family."

Although the Venezuelan government announced plans to import food, there are fears that lootings will only increase as local production of various food items by big manufacturers halted long ago.

Venezuela protests
Students use rubbish bin covers to take cover from rubber bullets fired by riot policeRonaldo Schemidt/AFP