January 16, 2010
Overnight, Haiti has gone from an organized, civil nation to a scenario of total chaos with gangs running wild through the streets, ransacking shops and fighting over food with machetes.
|Looters scavenge for food and drink among rubble and bodies in Port-au-Prince.|
Learning this, many an ignorant westerner might naively say, “That could only happen in Haiti. It’s because those people are so poor, so uncivilized. It could never happen here…”
Oh but it could.
Haiti isn’t so different from wherever you live — a city in America, Canada, Australia, the UK or anywhere else. Everywhere in the world, people will fight for survival when the situation becomes desperate. The only reason the streets in your town aren’t overrun with firearms and machetes right now is because food is plentiful. The electricity works. The water supply is functioning and police keep the relatively few criminals under control.
But wherever you live, your city is just one natural disaster away from total chaos. Hurricane Katrina proved it: Even in America, a civil, law-abiding city of people can be turned into looting, stealing and dangerously armed bands of gang-bangers.
And you know why? Because people aren’t prepared for disasters. Come to think of it, most people aren’t even prepared for a disruption in food and electricity lasting more than 48 hours. Almost nobody has spare food, water, emergency first aid supplies or the ability to physically defend themselves against aggressors. They are betting their lives on the bizarre idea that their government will save them if something goes wrong.
The people of Haiti are now learning what the people of New Orleans already know: Your government won’t save you. In a real crisis, you are on your own.
Law and order is a fragile thing
When disruptions occur — whether through natural disasters, radical weather events, war or civil unrest — governments and city police organizations can break down within hours. In Haiti right now, there is no government running anything. No police force. No authority. It’s every man (and woman) for himself. If you want to eat, you pick up a machete and fight for it.
It is a desperate situation.
This article isn’t really about Haiti, by the way. It’s about YOU and where YOU live. If a natural disaster struck your town tonight, would you be prepared?
Do you have the means to procure clean water if the water system breaks down? Do you have a way to provide shelter for yourself and your family if there’s no electricity or heating fuel available? Can you physical defend yourself and your family against aggressive marauders desperately searching for food? (Or do you have enough to share with them? If so, how will you share with the hundreds or thousands that follow in their footsteps?)
[efoods]Most people aren’t prepared for the unknown. They live lives that are entirely dependent on the continued successful operation of public infrastructure, law and order. And if that infrastructure is ever interrupted, they are completely unable to fend for themselves.
Most people live out most of their lives in precisely this situation. Every American city is a future Haiti just waiting to happen under the right (or wrong) circumstances. Civility is a fragile thing. Law and order is a thin veneer on society. And it can disappear in mere minutes.
This article, though, isn’t a doom-and-gloom assessment of our modern society. Rather, it is a reminder to all of us to get real about personal preparedness.
If you don’t have a portable water filter, some storable food, a warm sleeping bag and all sorts of other preparedness items all ready to go in a “go bag,” then you may find yourself in the same situation millions of Haitians find themselves in right now.
Most Haitians have a reasonable excuse for a lack of preparedness: In terms of per-capita income, Haiti is one of the poorest nations in the world. It’s difficult to stockpile water filters, storable food and outdoor gear when you’re living on a couple of dollars a day. But for people like you, living in “wealthy” nations like the USA, you CAN afford to be prepared.
You can afford water storage containers. You can afford sprouting seeds and some simple sprouting trays. You can afford an emergency LED flashlight, a high-quality multifunction knife tool and an emergency tent. Most likely, you have the financial means to get prepared starting right now. So if you haven’t already done it, get to it!
You can find all sorts of preparedness products at www.BePrepared.com and even retailers like www.Vitacost.com sell water filters and other preparedness items. Camping outlets like www.REI.com are also great sources for preparedness gear.
Protect your health
Right now, Haiti is in a health crisis. The hellish conditions, lack of clean water and lack of medical assistance is leading to rapidly deteriorating health conditions there.
So what do you really need to protect your health in a crisis?
Clean water is a priority. You’ll need five gallons per day per person to cover hydration, cooking and rudimentary bathing needs. You’ll need a portable water filter (like a Katadyn ceramic filter) to remove parasites and other “germs” in water that you might find through other sources (rivers, streams, etc.).
You’ll need a powerful anti-viral, anti-bacterial herbal tincture. Herbs can save your life against infectious disease. You’ll also need a serious first-aid kit that includes bandages and some western medical supplies such as antibacterial creams, emergency sutures (with needles), gauze and medical iodine.
Don’t forget a supply of high-potency nutrition. Some spirulina or chlorella tablets can provide crucial nutrition. Chia seeds, nuts or even peanut butter can give you essential calories. If you have time and space, sprouting seeds can give you the all-important living foods that will enhance your immune function and help you deal with the tremendous stresses of a crisis.
This isn’t a complete preparedness list, of course. If you want one, get this amazing preparedness course that was recorded during the financial bailout crisis. It offers a wealth of information about personal and family preparedness: http://www.truthpublishing.com/Heal…
Or figure out what you need in this way: Shut off ALL your infrastructure for a weekend and see how you do. Live without water, electricity, heat, grocery store food, fuel and phone service and see how prepared you really are!
This is the best test of all. And if you really want to see if you’re ready for a Haiti-style crisis, assume that your house has collapsed from an earthquake and you have to survive outside, in your yard, without anything from your house. Where is your stuff now? How will you survive the next 48 hours in your yard, with no help from anyone else and your house in a pile of rubble?
Proper planning avoids future emergencies. And no neighbor or city is entirely insulated from natural disasters or other unexpected events.