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Better prepared next time: considering nutrition in an emergency response

To the Editor: Cyclones, floods and bushfires are experienced in Australia every year, and Australia’s management of natural disasters centres on prevention, preparedness, response and recovery.1 Although access to safe food is a basic human need, during the 2010–2011 Queensland floods there was minimal information available to guide household food preparedness and food supply to communities.2 To ensure that Queensland is better prepared for future natural disasters, the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry recommended the development of consistent community education programs.2 Following the floods, a local food security resource kit3 was developed; however, there were no statewide resources. In 2011, we were members of a multidisciplinary working group — the Food Requirements in Disasters Working Group — that was established by Queensland Health to provide advice on food requirements in disasters for households and community organisations.

There is little international literature on food recommendations in disasters that is specific to high-income countries. Existing Australian resources did not consider nutritional…