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Food Assistance to Populations Affected by Undernutrition and critical Food Shortage

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The number of children affected by severe acute undernutrition has increased over the past months. In the province of Izabal, the prevalence of children with acute undernutrition stands at 6.3% (EFSA, July 2009)1. This is significantly higher than the national average of 1.8% (ENSMI 2002)2, and if extrapolated to the total population of children under 5 years of age in four municipalities with very high and high food insecurity according to SESAN (National Food Security and Nutrition Secretariat), it is estimated that about 2,000 children could suffer from acute (severe and moderate) undernutrition and need immediate attention.

According to Government data, an estimated number of 410,000 families in 230 municipalities (21 provinces) in Guatemala are affected by the food crisis. Reportedly 25 children – many under six months of age – have died by severe acute undernutrition, but information is still being compiled at the Ministry of Health. Following a declaration of a “State of National Calamity” on September 9th the Guatemalan Government appealed for international assistance. The appeal includes seven provinces known as the dry corridor, as well as 15 provinces located outside the dry corridor. This IR-EMOP will focus on the province of Izabal, justified by its high prevalence of acute undernutrition high numbers of populations living in food insecurity. A ‘Flash Appeal’; is under consideration to mobilize resources to extend the coverage of provinces affected by the crises.

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