Thinking about refugees and the incredible problem of how to feed them, it occurred to me that vegetable oils are extremely calorie-dense, inexpensive and while relatively unpalatable, theoretically not a bad choice as a method of keeping people fed for a few days or weeks as we connect them with more long-term accommodations.
Sunflower oil, for example, contains 1927 calories per cup, roughly the NIH recommended daily value, and most of those calories come from monounsaturated (good) fats. Most exciting is that sunflower oil can be bought in bulk for around $1.25 (US) per cup. Other oils are far cheaper even. That means you can feed refugees for less than $1.25/refugee/day, plus the cost of a multivitamin, using a non-perishable and very easy to distribute ration, and in theory keep them happy and healthy until better arrangements can be made.
For longer-term rations, casein is fat-soluble, fairly complete in amino acid profile and can be purchased in bulk for around $2.75 (US) per 50g, the NIH recommended daily value of protein. This would more than triple the cost of the ration, but would make it capable of feeding people for far longer without adverse effects, theoretically. Plus, it could be dissolved in the oil for easy distribution.
But is it doable?
After some healthy (debatably) experimentation and research, it seems like an oil-only meal can be a somewhat uncomfortable experience. However, this can be largely ameliorated by splitting up the 1-cup meal into smaller amounts spread out over a few hours, similar to how most people snack throughout the day rather than eating 24 hours worth of food at once.
Further, it would appear that most of the discomfort from this meal results from the way in which fats are digested, especially as it concerns the stomach. Basically, fats just sit in the stomach unaltered until they make their way to the duodenum, where bile salts emulsify and break up large fat globules. Yet the liver can only produce so much bile salts at a time, making this a rate-limiting step in digestion. For large amounts of fat (like a cup of oil), this can mean hours of the stomach's enteric nervous system being bothered by large amounts of fat waiting to move on.
I think a decent solution to this could be to add emulsifiers simulating bile salts to the ration, allowing the natural churning of the stomach to far more quickly breakup and emulsify the fats, eliminating this rate limiting and thus speeding digestion and hopefully eliminating discomfort.