Originally posted on the Vacaville Reporter: When we think about disaster response in California, we recognize the threat of fire, drought and tsunamis, but our main concern is earthquakes.
With the 6.0 magnitude Napa earthquake that took place last year, and the small earthquakes that have hit the area more recently, we are constantly being reminded that we need to be prepared. When we watch the news about the earthquakes in Nepal, we are reminded of the devastation these natural disasters can bring to a region.
This is why the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano is committed to preparing for the role we will play for any disaster in our community.
The first time local food banks responded to a major disaster was after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. The food banks in the Bay Area banded together to help the food bank that was serving Watsonville. They were overwhelmed by the damage in their community. We had an incredible response from a generous community that enabled us to accept disaster donations from Feeding America, the national food bank network. We stored those donations for the people in Santa Cruz County and helped meter the flow into their food bank.
After Loma Prieta, with the support from the San Francisco Foundation, we worked with consultants to develop a comprehensive disaster plan for the Food Bank. We developed a business continuity plan to assure that the Food Bank can continue to provide service in our local community. But as we looked at this local plan, we realized that we needed to have a regional plan for disaster response in the Bay Area.
We had to think about where would we look for help if a disaster limited our ability to assist our local communities. We also needed to consider what we would do if the food bank in Alameda or San Francisco were not able to operate.
All of the food banks are already dealing with the crisis of hunger in local communities on a daily basis. The need for food will obviously get significantly worse where a disaster occurs, but the food banks in areas that escape harm will still need to meet the daily needs of feeding members in their communities.
The Bay Area food banks developed a memorandum of understanding among one another that outlines what we would do to assist each other when a disaster occurs. We also keep that commitment alive by continuing training for table top exercises to practice how our mutual support will play out.
There is no question that another major earthquake will happen in the Bay Area. Roads will be damaged, electrical and water systems disrupted and property damage will occur. From our experience with Loma Prieta and other disasters, we know that people pull together in time of need.
The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano is prepared to help other Bay Area food banks when a disaster occurs, while we continue to help our local community too.