|Guidelines for Estimating Food and Nutritional Needs in Emergencies (UNHCR, 1997, 10 p.)|
1. Until now WFP and UNHCR have used a reference value of 1,900 kilocalories per person per day for designing emergency rations. This planning figure, which was endorsed by the 1988 Conference Nutrition in Times of Disaster, is based on the needs of a typical sedentary population with a normal demographic distribution and an assumed physical activity level of 45 percent above the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).
2. Recent research has indicated that an assumed physical activity level of 45 percent above BMR is too low for populations in emergency situations, particularly for women, and that adjustments should also be made for increased proportions of pregnant women and nursing mothers and for other conditions.
3. The Committee on International Nutrition (CIN) published a report in 1995 at the request of United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which estimated mean per capita energy requirements in emergency situations to range between 1,900 and 2,500 kilocalories. It recommended that an average figure of 2.100 kilocalories be used for planning purposes. This would cover the energy needs of a typical population, assuming standard population distribution, body size, ambient temperature, pre-emergency nutritional status and a light physical activity level of 55 percent above BMR for males and 56 percent for females.
4. In the new WHO manual Management of nutrition in major emergencies (in press) the mean energy requirement in emergency situations has been estimated globally at 2,100 kilocalories; this is consistent with the CIN report (Annex I).
5. In implementing the revised MOU (March 1997), WFP and UNHCR will follow the WHO Guidelines and use 2,100 kilocalories as the initial reference value for calculating energy requirements and designing food aid rations for the affected populations in emergency situations. However, this initial planning figure needs to be readjusted at the earliest opportunity through an in-depth assessment of the situation, and the ration revised according to prevailing conditions.