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Food / Nutrition

Food is always one of the primary and most requested aid items in the areas we are supporting. ‘Food no good, food no good,’ is a common distress call from displaced people witnessed by aid workers, and people often complain about the poor provisions of food or no distributions of food. Combined with a lack of financial assets displaced people are unable to sustain themselves or their families nutritionally.

 

People will always need food which is a very basic human right, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), recognises the "fundamental right to be free from hunger." Food is not only a basic necessity but it is an emergency need for the people we are supporting.

Many of us are fortunate enough that we will never have to sleep hungry or worry if we choose not to eat so our children can be fed instead. However, this is not the case for vulnerable people worldwide who are displaced, homeless or living in poverty.

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People Cooking on the Rail Tracks of Idomeni Camp, on the Greek- Macedonia (FYROM) Border.

Residents of Vial Camp, Chios Preparing Food on a Wood Burner and Trying to Warm their Hands.

There are many camps and unstable settlements worldwide where there is no provision of food supplies otherwise the food they receive from officials is often precooked, small in portion, lacking in flavour and of poor nutritional value. People also have to stand in line for 2-3 hours to receive food and it is not uncommon for food to be inedible or spoilt.  

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An example of the food received by the residents of Vial Camp, Chios after waiting in long lines for 2-3 hours:

  • A pre-cooked microwave style meal lacking in variety.

  • Mouldy flat bread. 

Therefore, whether it be a distribution for internally displaced people in Bablo Camp, Northern Iraq or a volunteering mission to support those forced to reside at the notorious Belgrade Barracks in Serbia, RBB has made it their mission to provide food supplies. 

 

Nutritional deficiencies are common in persons seeking asylum, usually attributed to a chronic lack or interruption of essential nutrients. Not only are the people we are supporting constantly hungry they are lacking in physical strength, reduced immunity making them more susceptible to infections, exacerbation of medical conditions, and suffering from low morale. 

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RBB has always prioritised food distributions when there is enough funds. The food items will be chosen after communication with the people we are supporting and their choices will be taken into consideration. Our food packs aim to include nutrient dense, long lasting, staple food items. Depending on support from our donors a dried food pack can include the following items: rice, oil, sugar, salt, lentils, tomato sauce, chickpeas, tea and coffee. When we are able to we also try to provide fresh fruits and vegetables.

 

Where possible and feasible we will buy food products in the country of support to support the local economy otherwise some food items are sourced and sent on containers of aid from the UK.

 

When we supply food packs we provide for all those within the criteria in our area of support as we feel no one should have to go without. RBB specialises in mass aid distributions for this and can

accommodate thousands of people at a time if needed. We include all people in our distributions, including families with children and single people. 

Other than large distributions, if requested by the people we are support special foods can and have also be provided such as dates for Ramadan or sweets for Yazidi New Year. Individual emergencies were food supplies are urgently needed, or added nutrition to support new mothers in hospital can also be accommodated.

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Extensive preparation is undertaken for every food distribution. This includes fundraising to buy supplies to ordering food locally or from abroad as deemed cost efficient. This is followed by receiving and storing large pallets with food items, then sorting and packing equally into bags and finally organising a fair distribution.

RBB food packs aim to give displaced people the dignity to prepare their own meals, or re-cook what has been supplied to them to improve the nutritional content and flavor, sustaining their physical and psychological well-being during the challenging journeys they are faced with.

The camps and unstable settlements we are currently supporting are in crisis mode due to a previous influx of new arrivals from countries where they are not safe, intense pressures from harsh weather conditions, overcrowding, a lack of sanitation, poor shelter and COVID-19 pandemic. RBB calls for help to provide nutrient dense food products for the people we are supporting. Support us to give vulnerable people a fighting chance at survival  in the deprivation and squalor they are residing in, negatively impacting their bodies, minds and souls.

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