Flooding and conflict have displaced over one million people in the Philippines, placing children at extreme risk of malnutrition. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is providing aid to civilians including a peanut paste for infants called Plumpy’Doz.
Plumpy’doz contains special nutrients and is easy to distribute since it requires no refrigeration or preparation. This food prevents children from suffering the severe malnutrition which causes lasting physical and mental damage. Plumpy’Doz comes in a small container, ready-to-eat with a spoon.
A WFP report says that 22,000 children were provided Plumpy’Doz in the National Capital Region, Region III and Region IV-A, areas which had suffered massive flooding from storms.
Meanwhile recent fighting between the Philippine army and separatist groups in Mindanao has displaced 35,000 more people. WFP is including 2.7 tons of Plumpy’Doz as part of its relief supplies.
The conflict in this region has taken its toll on the population and prevented development. WFP says there is a “poverty incidence of 47 percent among the population and with six out of the ten poorest provinces of the country located in Mindanao. Other basic indicators such as the rate of primary school completion and stunting among children under five are significantly worse compared to the rest of the country.”
Plumpy’Doz, along with other foods to fight malnutrition among small children, are vital to defeating hunger worldwide. If applied on a wide-enough scale it can keep children from falling into damaging levels of malnutrition. Only if entire generations are spared the damaging legacy of malnutrition can peace, food security and development move forward.