August 16th, 2011
03:22 PM ET

Fighting famine, one packet at a time

This is what emergency food aid looks like.

I'm holding a packet of “Plumpy Nut,” a high-calorie peanut-based paste donated by UNICEF for tonight’s News Stream focus on famine relief.

Some 12 million people are facing starvation in Africa today. “Plumpy Nut” is one of many nutrition supplements being used to stave off starvation.

“Plumpy Nut” looks like and tastes much like peanut butter. It’s a nut-based product that contains milk, soy, sugar, minerals and vitamins.

And it hits the top needs of the malnourished - it has a significant calorie count (500 kcal), high-quality protein, and a long shelf life. They’re also sweet so young children are willing to eat it.

A parent can simply tear off a corner of the packet, and feed it to a child straight from the package. Each packet has enough nutrition for an infant, but not enough for a teenager.

It is not a miracle cure. “Plumpy Nut” and other emergency food aid supplements do not address long-term malnutrition.

But it is helping fight the acute famine we’re seeing today in the Horn of Africa, fighting famine one packet at a time.

soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. angelo

    Ha que ajudar quem precisa,e penso que todos os que ajudam e sempre uma grande accao,( tentar ) fazer algo..enriquece nos como humanos ,apesar de defeitos ! Esta e a minha maneira de pensar ! E tambem acho que e a maneira de pensar da Senhora Kristie..etc..Abracos para ti,e todos .

    August 16, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Reply
  2. nl20051405

    Fighting famine, sometimes a packet of chocalate, and sometimes a piece of chewing gun will be OK.

    August 18, 2011 at 6:20 am | Reply
  3. angelo

    Ha que ver todas as vertentes ; ha uns que fazem de outra maneira e outros doutra,o que e preciso e e colaborar ! Ajudar ; penso que a humanidade ganha com isso ! Nao so a pessoa que ajuda ,( enriquece,como humano !!!!! ) mas tambem a pessoa que e ajudada ! E isso em certas vertentes faz mover o nosso maravilhoso mundo ....

    August 18, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Reply
  4. Jasmine

    Plumpy Nut looks to be compact & easy to use with a long shelf life.

    There are no long-term, viable solutions to famine with Al Jaabab in control of Somalia. Along with distributing food, why doesn't the United Nations and relief workers encourage African women of childbearing age to under Jadelle Norplant? People in drought-stricken areas want to continue tribal practices of bearing as many children as Allah gives them. Yet those of us in Western countries have a difficult time donating monetary funds to a location filled with corruption, control zones, and Al Qaeda connections.

    August 19, 2011 at 7:54 am | Reply
  5. theresa

    Where to I send donations for Plumly Nut,to help the african children.

    August 20, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Reply
  6. theresa

    Could you please give me the address of where to send donations to the "plumpy nut" program.thank you

    August 20, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Reply
  7. adelaide asante

    I am a Ghanaian and feels that CNN is not projecting the right image of Africa in the curent drought crises facing a few countries in Africa.

    Though there is drought in some areas of three to four countries in the east, it is not the whole continent with its 54 countries that are suffering. At leat 48-50 countries are unaffected and for those even affected it is not the entire country. International News network such as CNN wants to keep peddling stories about the continent that makes us look like we have not developed since the 80s. You must report on the specifics but not generalized issues. Watching TV this morning with a caption like "Famine in Africa" makes me sad and angry for even in Kenya, only 0.1 percent of the population are affected. I was just there and never saw the face of famine in city or the towns from Niarobi to Mombasa when i was travelling by road.

    I hope you will take this comment seriously and potray the situation of individual countries of the continent. For oneday, the proud youth of this continent will speak out against foreign jounalist and media houses. Thanks for the opportunity.

    August 22, 2011 at 7:14 am | Reply
  8. Joan Chaput-Gray

    For those folks interested in "Plumpy Nut" and how it works, please see the archives of "60 Minutes" when it was first demonstrated a couple of years ago. BTW, the only folks I know who are distributing Plumpy Nut is UNICEF to whom I've made several donations. Please know the results of this miracle package shows benefits for children within one week's time – it is truly amazing and costs very little to make. Just $50 will save many, many children. UNICEF is only one of probably many others who are distributing it. Check the web for the most reliable distributor before donating. These people deserve our help. (Not affiliated with any company or organization listed above – just a government wonk)

    September 2, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Reply
  9. Jayne Gudmundsson

    Hi Kristie,

    I watch you every morning from Guadalajara Mexico, where I am retired. I very much admire your journalistic style, my significant other is a retired newspaper journalist (sports though). But most of all I admire your personal style! Who is your favorite designer? I have recently lost a lot of weight, I need to revamp my wardrobe. I now weight 118 and think you weigh a lot less (and are a lot taller) but I am a dress/skirt person and think you are too.

    Help!! Jayne originally from San Diego, about to embark on a big fashion odyssey with my daughter to Europe.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Reply

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