Evaluation of the Emergency Nutrition Response in Malatya After Türkiye-Syria Earthquake


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Begum Kalyoncu Atasoy Z., KURT Ş., Beckerman-Hsu J., Soyunen S., Kalyoncu M. F., Kaptanoglu A.

British Journal of Nutrition, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1017/s0007114523002672
  • Journal Name: British Journal of Nutrition
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, PASCAL, Agricultural & Environmental Science Database, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts Core, CINAHL, EMBASE, Environment Index, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Keywords: earthquake survivors, emergency nutrition, food security, Türkiye
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes

Abstract

The Türkiye-Syria earthquake struck eleven provinces directly in Türkiye on February 6, 2023. Emergency nutrition care is indispensable for sustaining the lives of victims and rescue personnel. To optimally support their wellbeing, emergency food must be both healthy (i.e., aligned with dietary guidelines) and safe. However, globally, there is a dearth of research on the emergency nutrition conditions in shelters in the immediate aftermath of natural disasters. This lack of scientific evidence could limit the extent to which nutritional gaps can be identified and remedied for future relief efforts. Therefore, the aim of this research was to evaluate the nutrition environment and nutritional quality of emergency meals distributed to survivors in Malatya, a heavily affected province in Türkiye. The rapid assessment was conducted in thirteen locations by using an embedded case-study design to evaluate the nutrition environment both quantitatively and qualitatively. Meals served to earthquake victims and volunteers were found to be insufficient in protein, fat, fiber, vitamin C, calcium and iron, but sodium levels were higher than the maximum threshold in many of the centers. The qualitative analysis illustrated insufficiency in three domains of the emergency food and nutrition environment: foods and beverages offered, cooking/food preparation and food safety, and dining areas and other facilities. Given the major nutritional gaps identified in this study, future disaster preparations should implement emergency nutrition plans that ensure healthy, nutritious, and safe food for survivors. Better coordination and use of technology are necessary for interventions to prevent malnutrition.