About FEMA
Project Impact


Response and Recovery

Table of Contents
Basic Plan
Emergency Support Function Annexes
Recovery Function
Support Annexes
Incident Annexes
Figure Directory

Emergency Support Function #11 Food Annex

In PDF format

Primary Agency: Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service
Support Agencies: Department of Defense
Department of Health and Human Services
American Red Cross
Environmental Protection Agency
Federal Emergency Management Agency
General Services Administration

  1. Introduction

    1. Purpose

    2. Emergency Support Function (ESF) #11 — Food identifies, secures, and arranges for the transportation of food assistance to affected areas following a major disaster or emergency or other event requiring Federal response.

    3. Scope

    4. To accomplish this function, activities will be undertaken to identify food assistance needs in the aftermath of a major disaster or emergency.  These activities will include coordinating with State, local, and voluntary organizations to determine food assistance needs; obtaining appropriate food supplies; arranging for transportation of those food supplies to designated staging areas within the disaster area; and authorizing disaster food stamp assistance.

  3. Policies

    1. ESF #11 will be activated upon notification of occurrence of a potential or actual major disaster or emergency.

    2. Actions undertaken by ESF #11 will be guided by and coordinated with State and local disaster officials.

    3. Food supplies secured and delivered by ESF #11 will be suitable for either household distribution or congregate meal service as appropriate.

    4. Transportation and distribution of food supplies within the affected area will be arranged by Federal, State, local, and voluntary organizations.

    5. ESF #11 will coordinate with, and support as appropriate, agencies responsible for ESF #6 — Mass Care involved in mass feeding.

    6. ESF #11 will encourage the use of congregate feeding arrangements as the primary outlet for disaster food supplies.

    7. Priority will be given to moving critical supplies of food into areas of acute need and then to areas of moderate need.

    8. ESF #11, upon notification that commercial channels of trade have been restored, may authorize the use of disaster food stamp program procedures.

  5. Situation

    1. Disaster Condition

    2. A significant disaster or emergency may deprive substantial numbers of people access to food or the means to prepare food.  In addition to substantial disruption to the commercial food supply and distribution network, a major disaster may destroy, partially or totally, food products stored in the affected area.

    3. Planning Assumptions

      1. Approval of requests from the Governor or disaster relief organizations for release of State-controlled food may be given by telephone, radio, or written communications, depending on circumstances, within 12 hours of the disaster or emergency.

      2. Within the disaster area, the following conditions will exist:

        1. Fifty percent of the food processing and distribution capabilities is disrupted;

        2. Seventy-five percent of the water supply is unusable, requiring juices or potable water supplies to be made available to the affected population.  (Note:  Potable water will be supplied by ESF #3 — Public Works and Engineering.); and

        3. There is a near-total disruption of energy sources (e.g., electricity and gas).  The only sources available are oil for generators and propane tanks.  Most commercial cold storage and freezer facilities are inoperable.

      3. On the fringes of the geographic areas affected will be schools and small institutions having large inventories estimated to be sufficient to feed up to 10,000 people for 3 days and supply their fluid needs for 1 day (i.e., a minimum of 1,800 calories and 3 gallons of liquid per day per person).

  7. Concept of Operations

    1. General

      1. Under the general coordination of the Food and Nutrition Service’s (FNS’s) Disaster Task Force, ESF #11 will operate under existing Department of Agriculture (USDA) authorities and regulations, as well as the Stafford Act, to provide disaster food supplies to designated disaster staging areas and/or authorize the issuance of disaster food stamps.

      2. At all times, requests for food, including types, amounts, and destination locations, will be processed through FNS’s Disaster Task Force.  It is expected that the regional level of the Disaster Task Force will be the point of contact for all State-initiated requests for food assistance.

      3. After initial State food assistance requests are forwarded to the ESF, the Disaster Task Force will coordinate efforts to obtain and transport foods and/or authorize disaster food stamps.  During the first 72 hours following a notification of a major disaster or emergency, this ESF will be staffed at least in FNS Headquarters and affected regional offices around the clock.  After this time, continuation of 24-hour operations will be reconsidered by the Administrator of FNS and the FNS Disaster Coordinator, who is the official point of contact within the FNS Disaster Task Force for any matter pertaining to ESF #11.

    3. Organization

      1. National-Level Response Support Structure

      2. At the national level, FNS’s Disaster Task Force will assume primary responsibility for all ESF activity.  Since each support agency will be represented on the Emergency Support Team at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Headquarters and the Emergency Response Team at the Disaster Field Office (DFO), the FNS Disaster Coordinator will maintain 24-hour contact with those representatives as necessary at those locations for the duration of the emergency response period.  Support agency representatives will have sufficient knowledge of the capabilities and resources of their agencies, with appropriate authorities to commit resources to the response effort.
      3. Regional-Level Response Structure

        1. The FNS Regional Disaster Coordinator is the point of contact within the Regional Office and will represent this ESF in its dealings with the Federal Coordinating Officer.

        2. The regional level of the Disaster Task Force will have a representative present or available for duty at the DFO on a 24-hour basis for the duration of the emergency response period.

    5. Notification

      1. The FEMA National Emergency Coordination Center will notify the USDA Emergency Coordinator of implementation of the Federal Response Plan.  USDA then will notify the FNS Disaster Coordinator.  The FNS Disaster Coordinator will notify appropriate headquarters officials, regional office(s), and ESF support agencies.

      2. The Disaster Coordinator will attend any meeting of the Catastrophic Disaster Response Group (CDRG) and be available as necessary for the duration of the initial response period.

    7. Response Actions

      1. Initial Actions
        1. Determine the critical needs of the affected population in terms of numbers of people, their location, and usable food preparation facilities for congregate feeding;

        2. Catalog available resources of food, transportation, equipment, storage, and distribution facilities and be able to locate these resources geographically;

        3. Evaluate the adequacy of available resources relative to need on a geographical basis;

        4. Ensure that all identified USDA food is fit for human consumption;

        5. Coordinate shipment of USDA food to staging areas within the disaster area; and

        6. Initiate direct market procurement of critical food supplies not available from existing inventories.

      2. Continuing Actions

        1. Expedite requests, if any, for emergency issuance of food stamps after access to commercial food channels has been restored;

        2. Establish logistical links with organizations involved in long-term congregate meal services; and

        3. Establish need for and effect replacement of food products transferred from existing FNS program inventories.

  9. Responsibilities

    1. Primary Agency: Department of Agriculture

      1. Determine the availability of USDA foods, including raw agricultural commodities (wheat, corn, oats, rice, etc.) that could be used for human consumption; assess damage to food supplies;

      2. Coordinate with State officials to determine food needs of the population in the affected areas based on the following categories: acutely deficient, moderately deficient, self-sufficient, and surplus supplies;

      3. At the discretion of the Secretary of Agriculture, and upon request by the State, approve emergency issuance of food stamps for up to 30 days to qualifying households within the affected area;

      4. At the discretion of the Secretary of Agriculture, make emergency food supplies available to households for take-home consumption in lieu of food stamps for qualifying households;

      5. Provide damage information to ESF #5 — Information and Planning on a regular basis;

      6. Develop a plan of operation that will ensure timely distribution of food in good condition to the proper location; and

      7. Ensure that the appropriate officials establish and maintain an information flow to the national-level ESF.  These designees will ensure that requirements for food assistance are known and accomplished.

    3. Support Agencies

    4. All agencies included in support roles are necessary to ensure that all Federal sources of food are included, along with agencies necessary to ensure logistical support and determine that the food is not a health hazard.

      1. Department of Defense

        1. Assess the availability of Department of Defense (DOD) food supplies and storage facilities capable of storing dry, chilled, and frozen food;

        2. Assess the availability of DOD transportation equipment, material handling equipment, and personnel for support.  This responsibility will be confined to the posts, camps, and stations within or adjacent to the disaster area; and

        3. Arrange for the delivery and distribution of resources identified in B.1.a and b to areas designated by the ESF.

      2. Department of Health and Human Services

        1. Determine which foods are fit for human consumption and identify potential problems of contaminated foods (e.g., radiation, chemical, bacterial, and viral); and

        2. Provide health education in the areas of food preparation and storage.

      3. American Red Cross

        1. Identify and assess the requirements for food and distribution services on a two-phase basis: critical emergency needs immediately after the disaster, and longer- term sustained needs after the emergency phase is over; and

        2. Coordinate the food distribution efforts of other voluntary organizations.

      4. Environmental Protection Agency

      5. Assist with determining the suitability of food resources for human consumption and identify potential hazardous materials impacts on the food supply.
      6. Federal Emergency Management Agency

      7. Provide demographic information about the disaster area and information on State, local, and private sources of food.  This information will assist the ESF in determining types and quantities of food that FNS will need to provide.
      8. General Services Administration

      9. Lend support to FNS for any necessary procurement efforts to meet the needs of the affected population.
  11. Resource Requirements

    1. Transportation Resources

    2. Truck, rail, air, and sea resources for the transportation of food, including refrigeration and cold storage capacity.

    3. Food Resources

      1. Food supplies in Federal, State, and local government-owned storage facilities; and

      2. Food supplies available for immediate procurement.

    5. Mobilization/Staging Areas

    6. Facilities and personnel to offload, store, allocate, and reload for shipments to food preparation/distribution sites within the disaster area.

  13. References

    1. 7 CFR 250, Food Distribution Regulations.

    2. 7 CFR 280, Food Stamp Regulations.

    3. FNS Instruction 708-2, Emergency Food Assistance.

    4. FNS Instruction 708-5, Disruption of Commercial Channels of Food Distribution in Disaster Areas.

    5. FNS Instruction 708-6, Definition of Disaster Organizations.

    6. FNS Notice 86-43, FNS Disaster Task Forces.

  14. Terms and Definitions

  15. Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Disaster Task Force

    The Food Security Act of 1985 (Public Law 99-198) requires the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a Disaster Task Force to assist States in implementing and operating various disaster food programs.  The FNS Disaster Task Force coordinates the FNS overall response to disasters and emergencies.  It operates under the general direction of the Administrator of FNS.  The FNS Disaster Task Force consists of the Administrator, Associate Administrator, Disaster Coordinator, Deputy Administrator for Management, Deputy Administrator for Governmental Affairs and Public Information, representatives from the food stamp and special nutrition programs, and representatives from regional office(s) affected by the disaster.  

    The FNS Disaster Task Force expedites approval of disaster designation requests and policy clarifications.  It also maintains liaison with FEMA Headquarters.

Updated: June 3, 1999