Sunday, June 23, 2024

‘There was no other option’: the aid packages feeding diabetes and heart disease in the Pacific islands

SOURCE: Original article published here.

Increasingly frequent natural disasters leave islanders reliant on processed foods for months on end – with deeply concerning knock-on effects to health

When twin cyclones Judy and Kevin hammered their way through the 83 tropical islands of Vanuatu in March 2023, the government and NGOs were quick to distribute supplies. The South Pacific country’s crops had been decimated and the need to feed the 300,000-plus population was a priority.

The bags of rice, packets of noodles and tinned tuna that communities depend on for the months after a disaster were welcomed. But unlike native staples such as yams, taro and sweet potato, these emergency foods only serve to worsen the region’s non-communicable diseases (NCDs) problem, according to experts.

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