Revista Cubana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 0864-3466
SOCARRAS SUAREZ, María Matilde and BOLET ASTOVIZA, Miriam. Feeding and nutrition of the population in natural disaster situations. Rev. cub. salud pública [online]. 2010, vol.36, n.4, pp.361-366. ISSN 0864-3466. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0864-34662010000400012.
Natural disasters hit Cuba, and so, their effects upon health and feeding of the population should be mitigated. The nutritional condition of the population depends on the availability, consumption and the biological use of food. Natural disasters can damage the nutritional condition of the population due to their impact on one or several food chain components, which will in turn depend on the type, duration and size of the disaster, as well as the existing feeding and nutritional conditions in the area before the disaster. The available information on food and nutrition in disaster situations was reviewed. Also, the control and preventive measures to avoid malnutrition and to provide the best possible food under emergency circumstances, including food for breastfed babies and small children were identified. The immediate steps to assure the food assistance program efficacy were specified. These steps include evaluating the amount of food available after the disaster, determining the nutritional requirements of the affected population, estimating the daily food rations along with the needs of large population groups, and observing the nutritional condition of the affected population. It is necessary to improve the food supply by making a full use of collected products and to expand the nutritional culture, which will lead to increased food safety and to prevention of malnutrition.
Keywords : Natural disasters; food availability; nutritional condition; food.