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Digital Strategies to Improve Food Assistance in Disasters: A Scoping Review

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 October 2021

Nina M. Martin*
Affiliation:
Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA
Samantha M. Sundermeir
Affiliation:
Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA
Daniel J. Barnett
Affiliation:
Department of Environmental Health and Engineering, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA
Ellen J. I. van Dongen
Affiliation:
Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA
Lori Rosman
Affiliation:
Informationist Services, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA
Andrew J. Rosenblum
Affiliation:
Public Health Studies, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA
Joel Gittelsohn
Affiliation:
Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA
*
Corresponding author: Nina M. Martin, Email: nmarti38@jhu.edu

Abstract

Objective:

Modern digital strategies, including Internet of Things, machine learning, and mobile applications, have revolutionized situational awareness during disaster management. Despite their importance, no review of digital strategies to support emergency food security efforts has been conducted. This scoping review fills that gap.

Methods:

Keywords were defined within the concepts of food assistance, digital technology, and disasters. After the database searches, PRISMA guidelines were followed to perform a partnered, 2-round scoping literature review.

Results:

The search identified 3201 articles, and 26 articles met criteria and were included in the analysis. The data types used to describe the tools were text/opinion (42.3%), qualitative (23.1%), system architecture (19.2%), quantitative and qualitative (11.5 %), and quantitative (3.8%). The tools’ main functions were Resource Allocation (41.7%), Data Collection and Management (33%), Interagency Communications (15.4 %), Beneficiary Communications (11.5%), and Fundraising (7.7%). The platforms used to achieve these goals were Mobile Application (36%), Internet of Things (20%), Website (20%), and Mobile Survey (8%); 92% covered the disaster response phase.

Conclusions:

Digital tools for planning, situational awareness, client choice, and recovery are needed to support emergency food assistance, but there is a lack of these tools and research on their effectiveness across all disaster phases.

Type
Systematic Review
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc.

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