In Panit-an, one of the coastal communities in Iloilo province that were severely hit by Typhoon Haiyan, residents gather outside the Barangay Hall to receive specialised nutritious food for their children. WFP’s programme is designed to prevent acute malnutrition among young children, who are among the most vulnerable after a disaster strikes.
Babies up to the age of 6 months are lucky because, provided their mothers eat enough of the right food, they get all the nutrition they need from their mother’s milk. For infants from 6 months to 2 years of age, like this little boy in Tacloban, good nutrition is just as critical. After Haiyan struck, WFP gave them specialised nutritious food such as Plumpy’doz, a ready-to-use peanut-based paste, rich in vitamins and minerals, to help prevent acute malnutrition in the critical months after the disaster.
Within days after Haiyan hit the country, WFP started distributing High Energy Biscuits to children, aged 2 to 5 years, pregnant women and nursing mothers. Fortified with essential vitamins and minerals, these biscuits are precious in the early stages of an emergency: they are nutritious, need no cooking, and are easy to carry.
As first emergency needs are covered, WFP transitions to more specific nutrition support. Through community health centres, young children as well as pregnant women and nursing mothers will be screened for malnutrition, and nutritious food will be given to those in need until they recover.