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Guiding Principles for Feeding Infants and Young Children During Emergencies

Publication year:

2004

English

Format:

Website

Publisher:

WHO, World Health Organization

Caring for populations during emergencies remains a global humanitarian priority of major proportions. Every year for the last quarter century some 150 million people worldwide have been affected by some type of emergency. Tens of millions have been forced to leave their homes to become part of some of the world’s most destitute population groups, including:

  • internally displaced persons who have been forced to relocate within their own territories or countries;
  • refugees who have been forced to relocate across national boundaries; — returnees – former refugees or internally displaced persons – who are
  • attempting to reintegrate their communities and homes.

Emergencies following in the wake of natural or human-induced calamities – for example drought, floods, earthquakes, epidemics, agricultural and ecological catastrophes, war, civil unrest, and severe political and economic upheaval – dramatically change living conditions for entire communities. Families are left without shelter and the basic necessities of life. The guiding principles that follow have been prepared to help prevent this increased morbidity and mortality; they serve as a basis for action and are intended:

  • to clarify that optimal practices for feeding infants and young children during emergencies are essentially the same as those that apply in other, more stable conditions;
  • to inform decision-makers about the key interventions required to pro- tect and promote optimal feeding for infants and young children that should be routinely included in any emergency relief response;
  • to provide a starting point for organizing pragmatic, sustained inter- ventions that will ensure optimal feeding and care for infants and young children during emergencies.
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