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A food “lifeboat”

Food and nutrition considerations in the event of a pandemic or other catastrophe - Early self-isolation and social distancing measures are known to be highly effective in influenza pandemics. In the event of a lethal pandemic, emergency measures such as closing schools, staying home with family and friends, and avoiding contact with other people (until all have been immunised) will be instrumental in avoiding infection. People employed in essential services or occupations may be required to reside at their workplace for the whole period of the crisis. To achieve this type of isolation, sufficient food of adequate quality and quantity must be available. 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. 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. See link for a list of foods and nutrition guidelines for survival rations for 10 weeks.

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