5.6. Food and nutrition

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alimentacion nutricionIn disaster situations, the priority is to provide food rapidly to address critical needs that may arise in isolated populations, institutions, hospitals, temporary shelters, or other situations. For this purpose:

  • Make an initial estimate of the affected population’s food needs, taking account of its demographic features. Calculate dietary needs.
  • Identify sources of food (food deposits, food assistance organizations, etc.), and means of transportation, storage, and distribution.
  • Determine how much food is needed, based on the population and on how long they are expected to experience the effects of the disaster; ensure that energy and nutritional needs are adequately met.
  • Ensure the proper handling of food (preservation, preparation, and consumption) and that it is culturally appropriate.
  • Organize food distribution.
  • Consider people with special needs for food or food supplements.
  • Closely monitor the food and nutritional situation in order to update distribution and rationing programs to meet changing conditions.
  • Establish specific procedures for cases of malnutrition or severe malnutrition that are detected in the population being served and in the community in general.

The IFRC World Disasters Report 2011 focuses on the growing crisis food insecurity crisis that is creating a sharp rise in hunger and malnutrition, and on the insecurity of vulnerable populations around the world.