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A conceptual framework for estimation of initial emergency food and water resource requirements in disasters

April 11, 2023

Many households lack the necessary food and water supplies to sustain themselves for more than three days during a disaster. Community vulnerability assessments can be used to identify households with more pressing needs for emergency food and water resources. It is critical that these assessments include the interaction between physical impacts to lifeline infrastructure and the social vulnerabilities of food and water insecurity to prioritize, allocate, and distribute emergency resources. In this paper, we review and synthesize relevant literature to propose a new multidisciplinary conceptual framework of community vulnerability assessment for estimating initial emergency food and water resource requirements in a developed country. Using the framework as a guide, we illustrate its practical application through a simplified, deterministic model of initial resource requirements in disaster response, and offer a quantitative, comprehensive description of its application within the geophysical hazard context of the “ShakeOut” scenario—a major Mw 7.8 earthquake on California's San Andreas fault, occurring within the Los Angeles Basin, CA (USA) region. Model results estimate that 999,027 households (2,947,130 residents) will require initial emergency food and water resource requirements. Estimates include about 6 million meals and 9 million liters of water, concentrated in Lancaster-Palmdale, El Monte-Baldwin Park, East Los Angeles-Downey in Los Angeles County, the Coachella Valley (Riverside County), and in populated areas of San Bernardino County. A sensitivity analysis of social vulnerability interactions with utility service outages investigates the influence of food insecurity on the amplification of resource needs. This study establishes fundamental knowledge at the nexus of natural hazards, critical infrastructure disruptions, and social vulnerability by providing initial estimates of emergency resource demand while advancing the understanding of social inequity in emergency resource access.

Publication Year 2023
Title A conceptual framework for estimation of initial emergency food and water resource requirements in disasters
DOI 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2023.103661
Authors Joseph Charles Toland, Anne Wein, An-Min Wu, Lauryn Spearing
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Index ID 70242849
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Geographic Science Center