Tuesday, May 13, 2008

More on stockpiling

In the last post I wrote on stockpiling for emergencies, I said that governments were suggesting a 10 week stockpile, but then couldn't find a link to back that up. Sara over the Simple Savings site has just found something everyone should read.

Here's an excerpt from an article in The Medical Journal of Australia - full article here

  • Influenza pandemics are a real risk and are best managed by self-isolation and social distancing to reduce the risk of infection and spread.

  • Such isolation depends on availability of food of adequate quantity and quality.

  • Australia has one of the most concentrated food supplies of any country, making rapid food depletion more likely in a crisis.

  • Food stockpiling by both authorities and citizens is an important safety precaution that should be given greater media coverage.

  • Food and nutrition guidelines are provided for survival rations in the event of a pandemic or other catastrophe."

"The Australian Government and the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) have been planning for such a scenario for several years and have advanced plans in place (Russell Neal, AFGC, Canberra, ACT, personal communication). Nonetheless, the logistics and practicalities of household food stockpiling should be given greater media coverage. Australia has one of the most concentrated food supplies of any country, being dominated by two large supermarket chains. These organisations operate with such efficiency that their logistic chains hold only a few weeks’ supplies (Russell Neal, AFGC, personal communication). If the supply chain shuts down, or if there is no delivery from central stores, supermarkets’ stocks will be depleted within 2–4 weeks (Clare Buchanan, Public Relations Officer, Woolworths Pty Ltd, Sydney, NSW, personal communication). If domestic stockpiling begins at this late stage, then depletion will be accelerated.

Food supplies in the home will need to last as long as it takes for vaccine development and production. For ordinary seasonal influenza vaccines, there is a lag of 6 months or more after a new virus strain has first been discovered until a new vaccine is available for distribution. For weather-related catastrophes, food stockpiles might be required for much longer. A destabilised global climate, where small changes in atmospheric and ocean circulations have major consequences for temperature, rainfall, wind and storm patterns, may precipitate food stockpile dependence for several years.4 While long-term food stockpiling could be considered a governmental responsibility, we suggest that home stockpiling of food to last about 3 months might be done by individual households. This would allow a window of time for governments to put emergency action plans and food deliveries in place."

Dare I say - food for thought??!


libby said...

How funny (well, not really) but Kevin was just telling me last night that bird flu is still a real concern amongst medics. We had tins/ dried food a few years back when bird flu was first raised (we even put off getting our chickens because of it). We've recently had rats so got rid of everything (feed to Rosie) except for the tins. Looks like I need to look at building up our other supplies again. I'm thinking I can use a cupboard in our spa room that doesn't have much in it - just not sure if it's big enough.

Definite food for thought.


The Tin House said...

Wow. Here I was resting on my little stockpile laurels....I probably need to start getting real about the whole thing and buy slabs of stuff at Aldi.....I suppose one consolation is that dried stuff like rice and pasta, and tinned things such as beans, spaghetti, tomatoes, corn, etc will last the distance. Lisa x
p.s. just checked out your library speech lady - lovely blog - spectacular photos.