NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - Heartbreaking photos out of a hospital in Venezuela show newborns asleep inside cardboard boxes instead of incubators.
The images shared by a local congressman are shocking the international community as the economic, political and social crisis in the South American country worsens.
The shortage of medicines is at more than 80 percent and medical equipment is scarce, according to Congressman Manuel Ferreira.
"The babies spent all night in the cardboard boxes until the pictures were made public,” Ferreira told Fox News Latino on Thursday morning. “After that they discharged the babies to avoid further exposure."
Venezuela's director of social security responded angrily to the images.
“We do not justify the actions taken by a professional without the authorization of the management,” said Carlos Rotondaro via Twitter. “Our hospitals have to deal with hundreds of patients despite the efforts of the media to manipulate things. Unlike many, we recognize our fault and we continue.”
Hospital officials also responded by posting video to Twitter of a well-stocked neo-natal unit complete with incubators.
Rolling blackouts and widespread anti-government protests have followed since global oil prices plunged in 2015, leaving Venezuela and its socialist regime lead by President Nicolas Maduro with severe shortages of basic items.