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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Breastfeeding in the face of Ondoy

Last Saturday, the Philippines was hit with a storm of epic proportions -- which resulted in the worst flooding in the past 40 years. This post is so déjà vu. For this year, the theme for World Breastfeeding Week was "Breastfeeding: A Vital Emergency Response Are you ready?" I joined a blogging carnival in August and I wrote about that here. I talked about how the Philippines is always hit by typhoons which is why moms need to be informed and supported to be able to breastfeed successfully. Being able to breastfeed helps moms worry about one thing less (what to feed their baby) in the face of disaster.
Then again, when we are
thinking about donations, one of the issues UNICEF said to watch out for is the common donor impulse to send infant formula or breast milk
substitutes to disaster zones. In current news reports, among the items being asked for is milk - formula for infants.
A friend shared with me that her cousin, 9 month old niece and yaya (nanny) were stuck on the rooftop of their house in Riverside, Marikina - one of the areas worst hit by Ondoy. They had to lug containers of clean drinking water to the roof to be able to prepare formula milk. The mom and baby were eventually rescued by the US Navy. Initially, the US Navy only wanted to get the baby first - I really don't understand why there is a need to separate the mother and baby. The mom refused so both were evacuated. I wonder what happened to the yaya though?
Meanwhile, I was able to receive a text from Yoly who share that her house was totally flooded last Saturday and her family did not get a chance to cook any food. However, thanks to the magic of mama's milk, her son Yohann did not go hungry at all because he had an unlimited supply of clean milk to drink -- perfect example of the benefits of breastfeeding in times of calamities.
Death toll from Ondoy has now reached 240 people while almost 400 thousand people are now in evacuation centers. Economic damage is pegged at P1.4B ($30M). Readers who want to help can check out this Google Landing Page.
With another storm brewing, estimated to hit the Philippines later this week, there is more reason to promote breastfeeding and encourage moms to persevere. In times of emergencies such as this, breastfeeding moms don't have to worry about clean water to make their babies' milk and will always be confident that their babies will not go hungry, as experienced by Yoly.

1 comment:

nikkibee said...

reading, hearing, and seeing all those infants going without milk makes me stronger in my resolve to continue breastfeeding.

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