Home Emergency Preparedness Guide
The Emergency Food Assistance Program is the largest of the commodity food donation programs. TEFAP was designed to reduce the level of government-held surplus commodities by distributing them to low-income households to supplement the recipients' purchased food. Local agencies may also use the commodities to prepare and serve meals in congregate settings, such as soup kitchens.
Natural disasters, as well as some human-caused disasters, lead to human suffering and create needs that the victims cannot alleviate without assistance. Examples of disasters include hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, drought, blizzards, famine, war, fire, volcanic eruption, a building collapse, or a transportation wreck. When any such disaster strikes, a variety of international organizations offer relief to the affected country. Each organization has different objectives, expertise, and resources to offer, and several hundred may become involved in a single major disaster. International disaster relief on such a large scale must be properly coordinated to avoid further chaos and confusion both during and after the disaster.
Every year, thousands of individuals are displaced from their homes and homelands because of wars, political conflicts, and natural disasters. The Refugee Nutrition Information System (RNIS) was established in 1993 to collect data and report on the nutrition, health, and survival status of the most nutritionally vulnerable people in the world, including refugees, internally displaced populations, and those who are forced to migrate.
The Emergency Nutrition Network (ENN) is a network of humanitarian agencies and researchers that supports and facilitates activities that increase the effectiveness of emergency food and nutrition interventions. The planning for the ENN was done in 1995 at a meeting sponsored by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the network began operating in November 1996. Humanitarian agencies sometimes provide interventions and food that are not always logistically or culturally appropriate. In addition, many agencies have high staff turnover, inadequate record keeping, and limited resources, all of which can delay access to appropriate information at critical times. The goal of the ENN is to improve the effectiveness of emergency food and nutrition programs by
According to the United States Census Bureau, 5 million adults and 2.7 million children lived in hungry households in 1999. To combat hunger and the undernutrition problem, the United States government funds and administers several food programs, including the Food Stamp Program the National School Lunch Program the School Breakfast Program the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children the Child and Adult Care Food Program the Emergency Food Assistance Program and the Community Food and Nutrition Program. Through the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), food is distributed through emergency food shelters. The food is provided through
In July 2003, the FDA submitted a ten-point program to DHHS that would ensure the safety and security of the nation's food supply. Under this program, the FDA will work with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to add more staff, develop bioterrorism regulations, assess threats to the food supply, and train food service workers and the public in emergency preparedness and how to respond to a crisis.
Separate USDA programs also exist for providing commodities and surplus foods to charitable institutions, child- and adult-care programs, Indian reservations, and for temporary emergency food assistance. Other USDA programs, such as the Expanded Food and Nutrition Program and the Nutrition and Education Training Program, exist to increase nutrition knowledge and skills.
Natural disasters do not usually result in infectious disease outbreaks. However, certain circumstances can increase the chance for disease transmission. Immediately after a disaster, most increases in disease incidence are caused Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Response Association (DERA) Assists international communities in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery serves as a professional association linking disaster relief personnel Pan American Health Organization. Natural Disasters Protecting the Public's Health. Available from
Extrusion can produce safe, lightweight, shelf-stable foods that can be stored for use during famines and natural disasters. Simple single screw extruders are fairly inexpensive and simple to maintain so these machines can be used in less-developed nations to produce weaning and other foods. Harper and Jansen (1985) have reviewed advantages and limitations of extrusion for weaning foods. Friction from the rotation of the screw can cook the food thoroughly, reducing production costs for fuel sources. Extruders can blend diverse ingredients, permitting government and relief agencies to use donated foods such as dried milk as well as indigenous crops such as beans, millet, and cassava. Extruded pellets can be ground, then mixed with milk or water as needed to form gruel for infants.
In developing countries, the root causes of food insecurity include poverty, war and civil conflict, corruption, national policies that do not promote equal access to food for all, environmental degradation, barriers to trade, insufficient agricultural development, population growth, low levels of education, social and gender inequality, poor health status, cultural in-sensitivity, and natural disasters. In the United States, the primary cause of food insecurity is poverty. Low levels of education, poor health status, and certain disabilities also increase the risk of food insecurity for individuals and households in the United States.
A way to get at the root of the problem is to understand the causes of homelessness. Worldwide, homelessness is caused by a breakdown in traditional family support systems, continued urbanization, the effects of structural adjustment programs, civil wars, and natural disasters. A shortage in affordable rental housing and an increase in poverty are thought to be two major factors contributing to the rise of homelessness in the United States. Other potential causes are the lack of affordable health care, domestic violence, mental illness, and addiction disorders. Often, individuals will have several risk factors causing them to choose between food, shelter, and other
Have begun to affect Asians in a new and different way. Further, as weather patterns change over time and natural disasters occur, Asia, a largely agricultural society, is not always guaranteed a good crop. Asian food and nutrition is deeply rooted in the availability of food in each country. International organizations such as the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization and Oxfam International continue to work on programs that ensure that continents like Asia will not suffer food shortages in the future. see also Asian Americans, Diets of Dietary Trends, International.
Remember to prepare for everyone in the home. When you are putting together a plan to prepare in the case of an emergency, it is very important to remember to plan for not only yourself and your children, but also for your family pets and any guests who could potentially be with you at the time of the emergency.