Understanding Resilience: A Spatio-temporal Vulnerability Assessment of a Population Affected by a Sudden Lack of Food

  • Thomas MünzbergEmail author
  • Marcus Wiens
  • Frank Schultmann
Part of the International Series in Operations Research & Management Science book series (ISOR)


Natural disasters such as massive floods and severe storms can lead to disorganizations of the food supply chain. A cutoff of the food supply chain is a worst case scenario in which the population is not able to buy food in stores for a couple of days. In this situation, the private food stock in households is the key self-helping capacity to cope with the effects of a sudden lack of food. In this paper a spatio-temporal vulnerability model is introduced to facilitate disaster preparedness and to enhance the understanding of resilience of the population in Germany. The model is indicator-based and uses the empirical data about the stock piling behavior of the population, statistical data about the population structure of different city districts, and the results of an expert survey to estimate the time-dependent vulnerability of a population derived from the continuous consumption of their private food stock. The paper includes a review about studies recently published about the empirical quantifications of food stocks in households in Germany and an evaluation of the expert survey. The model was applied to two cases of German cities to demonstrate and discuss its benefits.


Resilience Coping capacity Indicator-based vulnerability assessment Spatio-temporal assessment Disaster relief Disaster management planning Lack of food Food supply disruption 



The research reported in this paper is part of the SEAK project that aims at developing a decision support framework to manage food supply chain disruptions. The SEAK project is funded by the security research program of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and we thank the BMBF for the funding support.

We would like to thank all representatives from the German authorities that participated on our workshop on “Disaster Management Planning for Food Shortages and Power Outages” in October 2014 at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Münzberg
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marcus Wiens
    • 2
  • Frank Schultmann
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute for Nuclear and Energy TechnologiesKarlsruhe Institute of TechnologyKarlsruheGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Industrial ProductionKarlsruhe Institute of TechnologyKarlsruheGermany

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