Influx of baby food supplies swamped Central Sulawesi emergency camps in Indonesia
Report form ICDC (International Code Documentation Centre)
The care and feeding of infants and young children are compromised in emergency situations, which often lead to high rates of disease and death. On September 28th 2018, a 7.4 SR earthquake hit Sulawesi Province in Indonesia, followed by a 3-6 meter tsunami which devastated the coastal area of Palu. Approximately 2 million people have been affected by this disaster, of those, there were 2087 recorded deaths, 1,084 people missing, 211,000 internally displaced people (IDP), 4,400 people sustained major injuries and 68,000 homes were damaged. In such circumstances, emphasis should be on protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding and ensuring timely, safe and appropriate complementary feeding (exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and continued breastfeeding with nutritionally adequate and safe complementary feeding starting from 6 months up to 2 years of age or beyond). The International Code (and relevant WHA resolutions) which protect optimal infant and young child feeding are especially relevant, and should be complied with in the context of emergency situations. However, reports from IBU Foundation revealed that there was large influx of donated formula milk products and complementary foods in the IDP camps in Central Sulawesi.
Reports as such also point to the bigger picture of how emergencies and crisis situations are often exploited to provide unsolicited supplies in the form of charitable donations or discounted products. Not only are these convenient avenues to promote a goodwill image to the public, these supplies and donations – whether low-cost, free, unsolicited or solicited – create dependence on the products and thus a potential market. And in some cases, donations are made with good intentions but donors and recipients are unaware of the harm such donations can do.