Ten tons of ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) has arrived at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi and will be distributed as part of UNICEF’s emergency response to meet the urgent needs of severely malnourished children in the flood- and storm-stricken central region of Vietnam.
An estimated 10,000 children under five years old in nine affected provinces are suffering from acute malnutrition at this time, and their situation could further deteriorate with healthcare services disrupted across the region, UNICEF Vietnam said in a press release on Friday.
“There’s no time to lose to get therapeutic food to the frontline healthcare workers in communes to treat children suffering from malnutrition,” said Rana Flowers, UNICEF representative to Vietnam.
“These acutely malnourished children cannot wait.
“With the downturn caused by COVID-19, many families in this region were already struggling to provide three nutritious meals a day, and the flooding has dramatically compounded their situation.”
In response to the devastating flood emergency in central Vietnam, UNICEF is providing life-saving relief to vulnerable children and women in the affected areas.
UNICEF is ordering a total of 60 tons of RUTF to be shipped to Vietnam in the coming weeks.
The RUTF meets international standards and is in the form of a soft biscuit that provides all the energy and micro-nutrients required for the treatment of severe acute malnutrition.
The life-saving therapeutic food will be distributed to commune health centers through the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN).
Coordinating with the government and other agencies to reach all children in need, UNICEF will prioritize its therapeutic food to the most severely malnourished children, ensuring that they benefit immediately.
An estimated over 4,000 acutely malnourished children in Vietnam will benefit every day for the next three months from this life-saving nutrition treatment.
“Children have been among the most affected by the recent natural disasters that have struck Vietnam,” Flowers said.
“UNICEF is working with partners to bring emergency relief to affected children and women in central Vietnam, prioritizing access to clean water, sanitation facilities, healthcare, nutrition, education, psycho-social support, and child protection.”
To date, UNICEF has mobilized US$2.6 million from the governments of Australia, New Zealand, and its supporters in multiple countries to address the urgent needs of the most vulnerable children, their families, and communities in the most affected provinces that were severely ravaged by storms and floodwaters in October.