The food shortage, price controls on staple items, and the ease with which foreign food aid could be diverted from normal distribution channels produced ideal conditions for a brisk black market. Basic food items, which officially still had governmentfixed prices, became difficult, and often impossible, to purchase at stores but appeared at significantly higher prices on the black market alongside items pilfered from aid consignments. Nonfood items looted from warehouses were available from black-market dealers at many times normal prices. Fines for trafficking in smuggled and stolen goods were trivial compared to the potential profits.
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