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close this bookGuidelines for Estimating Food and Nutritional Needs in Emergencies (UNHCR, 1997, 10 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentBACKGROUND
View the documentBASIC PRINCIPLES
View the documentNEED FOR AN INITIAL REFERENCE VALUE FOR EMERGENCY FEEDING
View the documentADJUSTMENT OF INITIAL REFERENCE VALUE
View the documentMANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS
View the documentTHE FOOD BASKET
View the documentANNEX I
View the documentANNEX II
View the documentANNEX III
View the documentANNEX IV

BASIC PRINCIPLES

6. Ensuring an adequate basic ration for the affected population is of utmost importance at the onset of an emergency. The availability of such a ration will reduce the need for other costly and cumbersome food interventions.

7. An adequate ration is generally defined as meeting the population’s minimum energy, protein, fat and micronutrient requirements for light physical activity, and as being nutritionally balanced, diversified, culturally acceptable, fit for human consumption, and easily digestible for children and other affected vulnerable groups.

8. Individual energy needs are determined mainly by the BMR which is estimated for different population groups according to age, gender, weight and in the case of women reproductive age, physiological state (i.e. whether pregnant or nursing), and the Physical Activity Level (PAL).

9. The total energy needs of a population are determined by adding up the requirements for each age-sex group according to the proportion within the population. The overall demographic profile in a country (of origin) may be used as a first approximation, but should subsequently be adjusted according to census data on the refugee/internally displaced person (IDP) population.

10. When the population is entirely dependant on food assistance, the external provision of food must cover at least its minimum requirements as shown in Annex I. In some cases, however, the affected population may not be dependent on food assistance alone but has or can obtain access to some other sources of food.

11. Food rations should complement any food which the affected population is able to obtain on its own, through activities such as agricultural production, trade, labour and small business. An understanding of the various mechanisms used by the population to have access to food is essential and enables a better estimation of food and nutritional needs.

12. As a principle in the general distribution one standard ration will be provided to every beneficiary without distinction.

13. In all cases, the food and nutrition situation of the refugees/displaced persons should be systematically reviewed at least every 12 months.