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Updated March 2020 in light of Coronavirus. Real shortages of basic and essential foods do happen after extreme weather events. With the Coronavirus (Covid 19) declared a pandemic, there is a chance that you or friends may need (or choose) to enter quarantine for a few weeks. There is also a possibility that regular distribution and supply chains break down due to staff downtime. For example, if power stations or powerlines go down and not enough staff are well enough to repair them, you may be temporarily without power.
There is no need to panic buy. A few strategic purchases will see you through a couple of weeks in isolation. Plan how much you need for two to three weeks.
1. Work out whether friends or family or delivery services are willing to drop deliveries at your door or front gate (whichever is better for isolation). If yes, you don't need to stock up too much.
2. If you want to be totally isolated or quarantined, buy long-life products that will take you through the few weeks you are safely tucked away at home. Do not be greedy. Do not over-buy. If everyone buys just enough, there will be enough to go around.
3. Do not go shopping if you or anyone in your household enters quarantine. If you are unprepared, order online and advise the delivery person to toot their horn or msg you when they arrive and to leave the order at the gate /door unattended. Do not greet them in person.
This article gives you information on what to buy to feed your family when fresh produce is not available. It explores emergency situations to due bad weather events, disruption to produce supplies and everyday living, and isolation or quarantine due to Coronavirus.
Having food is up there with shelter as a basic survival need. It is hard to hold back and not panic during extreme events such as cyclones, Coronavirus concerns, bushfires and floods. But holding pack is the best thing for everyone to do. That way, everyone can get something to eat.
Choice is already out the door for many communities and you may not even have the 'luxury' of getting shelf-stable foods. With the help of the list below, you'll have a better chance of getting a nourishing feed.
Food shortages put the role of food in our lives into perspective. We have a daily need for a good, old-fashioned safe food and energy supply. Communities in far-flung Qld, NT and WA experience these shortages all through the year due to extreme weather events. Those in poverty see it as well.
Now, with Coronavirus, many of us will mirror their experiences and respect the hardships that others endure, without choice, everyday.
This suggestion list is about practicalities, not pure nutrition.
If your house was untouched by previous extreme weather dramas and your pantry is safe, you might be surprised at what is buried in the depths of your personal supermarket that is your kitchen. You may have enough food already to last a couple of weeks! Get creative. Put together flavours, foods and combinations that don’t fit a recipe or ‘tradition’. Use up all of your own pantry contents before you go out and deplete supermarket shelves of food that others who have lost everything or have a more urgent need could use. Share your created foods with neighbours and friends who can’t cook at the moment, if safe to share.
During extreme weather events (like the drought we have been in) fresh produce is often hardest hit with crops of fruit, vegetables, wheat and other grains wiped out. The Coronavirus will also impact on supply chains and the production of fresh and manufactured foods if staff are off duty with the virus.
Power outages and power lines down also stop food manufacturers making fresh foods such as bread. Loss of power means food goes off in fridges and freezers. Butchers can't keep meat fresh and safe. Power loss also slows farmers down when milking their cows and hinders their ability to keep the milk fresh. If the power suppliers have downtime due to staff being off with Coronavirus, power outages might occur.
Weather events may damage roads, railway lines and airports, which could mean long delays and long detours for truck drivers to deliver food from interstate. Supply chains may fall apart due to staff shortages with the virus.
What this may mean for you is that, temporarily, only supplies of shelf-stable long-life foods will be available. Essentially emergency foods. Foods and drinks that are stored without refrigeration until opened.
If you and your family enter voluntary isolation or need to enter home quarantine for two to three weeks, will you have enough food to get you by?
What are some of your 'choices' when fresh produce is not available or when you need to go into temporary isolation or quarantine due to the Coronavirus (Covid 19)?
These suggestions include options should power outages or fresh food shortages occur.
MEAT & OTHER PROTEINS
BREADS, CEREALS AND GRAINS
After extreme weather events, industry bodies work as quickly as they can to re-supply the basics from inter-state suppliers but there can be no guarantee as to how long the supply chain will stay strong and unbroken. In the long haul, food supply and availability may prove to be tight during extreme weather events and if imports are stalled due to tighter border controls (cancelled or delayed cargo flights and ships held offshore), the range and variety you are used to will dwindle temporarily. On the positive side, you can take advantage of the low variety and limited supplies to keep your body into shape. The Coronavirus is interrupting things further with closures of eateries, factories and manufactuing sectors when staff call in sick/choose home self-isolation.
Treat your kids to cuddles and hugs of care rather than feel the anguish of trying to supply more food, fancy foods and fast foods. Fussy eaters might well become a thing of the past if there’s nothing else available to eat to cure their hunger. This is one harsh reality of surviving extreme events. Take comfort in family, newfound friends and neighbours (from a safe distance or through a closed window) rather than in food.
You may also want to visit The Pantry List which details other items essential to consider for a household during an emergency - baby goods (wipes, nappies), health and hygiene goods (liquid soap, detergent, dishwashing liquid, hand sanitiser, bandages, tampons, tissues, toilet paper), prescription medicines, and power alternatives (batteries, generators) for torches, radio and other communication.
Keep your hands clean and away from your face and your child's face. Wash hands after thoroughly after toileting, after touching common property (e.g. supermarket trolley, hand rails and benches, and on public transport), before food preparation, before feeding others and before eating. Use detergent, soap or liquid handwash to thoroughly wash hands.
Prepared by Trudy Williams, Accredited Dietitian with https://www.FoodTalk.com.au
NOTE: You are welcome to link to this page or share this material with others providing you acknowledge the source by retaining a live direct link to my website and authorship. Please respect this.
I have no affiliation with outside industry bodies that would benefit from this article. The information is independently prepared by me.