TYPHOON Glenda, the first powerful storm for the year, hit the country in July, just in time when the country is celebrating nutrition month with the theme Kalamidad Paghandaan: Gutom at Malnutrisyon Agapan.
The National Nutrition Council (NNC) Technical Committee decided on this theme to consider the impact of emergencies and disasters, natural and human-induced, on the nutritional status of affected population groups. Nutrition emergencies refer to situations in which food security is often severely threatened causing increased risk to malnutrition, illness and death. Nutrition in emergencies, on the other hand, refers to key nutrition services that are components of emergency preparedness, response and recovery phases aimed at preventing death and worsening of malnutrition in the affected population, particularly in the most nutritionally-vulnerable groups: infants, children, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, and older persons.
In line with the celebration, NNC released a list of suggestions that every family should prepare during the typhoon season.
Every family should be be ready with at least three days’ supply of nonperishable food items that include dried fruits and dried fish, canned juices and milk; canned sardines, meat, fruits and vegetables; high-energy food such as peanut butter, jelly and crackers; comfort food such as biscuits, hard candy, instant cereal and instant coffee.
At least four liters of water stored in clean plastic bottles per person a day, 2 liters should be reserved for drinking and the other half for food preparation and cleaning.
Food items for the elderly with special diet and babies should be secured.
For those family with breastfeeding babies, mother should prepare breastfeeding kit that includes malong, feeding cup with cover, food container with spoon and fork, 1 liter tumbler with cover and birth registration form.
According to NNC, there are nutritional problems that usually arise during calamities: acute malnutrition, chronic malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies, particularly in Vitamin A, iron and iodine.
Micronutrient deficiencies are common because of disrupted food supply, incidence of infectious diseases, particularly diarrhea which impairs nutrient absorption and increases the need for these micronutrients.