In the last three weeks, we’ve seen two of the worst hurricanes in history strike our shores, with Hurricane Harvey hitting Houston and the surrounding area, and Hurricane Irma hitting all of Florida.
While the 6.5 million inhabitants of the Houston metro weren’t told to evacuate, Florida Governor Rick Scott issued a statewide evacuation order, telling 5.6 million people to move out of the state for the duration.
Considering that only 1.2 million people live in the New Orleans area, either of these hurricanes dwarf the number of people who were affected by Hurricane Katrina, the costliest hurricane in US history.
The total dollars of damage from these two hurricanes is far from being discovered, but it will clearly put a major dent in our national economy.
At the same time all of this is happening, much of the western United States is ablaze with forest fires. Every state west of the Continental Divide has numerous fires, with California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho being hit the hardest. While much of this is wilderness area, the cost in lost timber will be astronomical. It will regrow, but that will take time.
On top of all this, the seismic activity in the area of Yellowstone National Park is spiking, with a “swarm” of over 1,500 earthquakes. Scientists state that there is no reason to suspect an eruption of the supervolcano yet, but they also tell us that Yellowstone is overdue for an eruption. What is keeping them from predicting one anytime soon is that there are too many other signs of a pending earthquake that aren’t visible yet. While that could change at any time, we should, at least, have some warning.
Of course, those who believe religiously in Climate Change are trying to make political hay from these disasters, claiming that they are caused by climate change. But then, we’ve heard them blame climate change for Brexit, the Flint water crisis (which was caused by bad management), a surge in fatal shark attacks, severe acne and even the election of Donald Trump as president.
Anyone who understand the science of hurricanes and forest fires knows that even if global warming were true, it would not cause these events. But then, those who push that narrative are selling it to a group of low-information voters, who don’t really understand, but merely accept what they’re told.
President Trump has already asked Congress for a 7.9 billion dollar relief fund for Hurricane Harvey and will probably end up doing something similar for the victims of Hurricane Irma.
If Congress follows their normal routine, other billions in pork spending will be added to these two bills, money spent on projects that couldn’t normally make it through the Congressional review process, but may very well be funded on the backs of the important legislation providing relief for those affected by the hurricanes.
But one has to wonder how many of these disasters the country can absorb, before they start causing a serious impact on our economy.
Granted, the United States is the richest country in the world, but even our well of resources isn’t bottomless. Eventually, we’ll hit a point where our government can’t keep borrowing money, then what will happen?
We in the prepping community look at a wide variety of potential disasters, wondering if one or another will end up being the downfall of our nation, creating that TEOTWAWKI world that we all prepare for. Yet, while we always look to a single event being the cause of such change, there’s nothing to say that there can’t be a series of events that cumulatively bring the nation down.
Right now, we have three of the country’s largest 20 metropolitan areas lying in ruins, not counting the damage to smaller communities. Over a million people had to abandon their homes, due to flooding, in Houston alone.
How much those cities are in ruins is still being evaluated; but it’s clear that it’s going to cost hundreds of billions of dollars over the next three years to rebuild them; estimates are running as high as $290 billion dollars.
In Florida, the local power company is predicting that it could take weeks to restore power to everyone, just as it did after Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy. The damage is so severe, that they are looking at the possibility of a wholesale rebuild of the electrical grid.
But this is nothing compared to Puerto Rico, where they are saying restoring the grid will probably take more than six months.
All this is from just the first two hurricanes of the season. We still have a month and a half of peak hurricane season to go. Who knows what else might happen in that time?
So, Where Does this Leave Us?
Sadly, few of the people hit by either of these hurricanes or the hurricanes to come are prepared for this sort of event to happen in their lives. Flood insurance and hurricane insurance are expensive; so few people buy them, unless they are required to as a stipulation in their mortgage contract.
What that means is that those whose homes are damaged will still have to pay their mortgage, as well as pay for expensive repairs to their homes, somehow. It will take some of these people years to effect those repairs, simply because they don’t have the money to do so and whatever aid they receive from the government won’t be enough to finish the work.
But what if those people didn’t pay their mortgages, but instead abandoned their wrecked homes and ruined lives? What would happen then?
In that case, the banks and mortgage companies would begin the process of foreclosing on their homes, taking that property, which was the collateral for those loans. The banks would then sell off the property, writing off the loss.
If each bank were to just absorb a few such losses, it wouldn’t make much difference. But if we end up seeing a continuation of destruction, there is a possibility of enough of these losses causing banks, especially smaller banks, to fail. While the government has typically bailed out the banks that were “too big to fail,” they don’t offer that same protection to smaller ones.
Each failed bank, like each disaster, becomes a burden on the economy, dragging us closer to the edge of the cliff of financial collapse. There’s really no way of knowing exactly how close that cliff is or which event might trigger a fall. A lot of that depends on psychology, never a very exact science. But one that is even less exact when you combine the psychology of many different people together.
All the More Reason to Prep
If anything, these events merely show all the more reason why you and I need to prepare. None of us know what is coming our way next week, let alone next year.
The things I’ve mentioned so far in this article are just disasters that nature has provided, without even looking at man-made problems that we could face. The world we live in is clearly a dangerous place, and it’s not going to get safer anytime soon.
But our prepping needs to go far beyond building a stockpile. I don’t care if you have ten years worth of food stashed away, it’s not going to do you much good, if it’s under ten feet of water. Nor, for that matter, is most of it going to be available for you to use if your home gets destroyed.
One way of mitigating this risk is by having at least some of your stockpile off-site, preferably in a secure location that you can bug out to, should you be forced to abandon your home. That way, you have something to use while you are away, and maybe even while you are trying to dig your home out of the rubble and see what you can salvage.
But there’s something even more important than your stockpile; that’s the knowledge you learn as part of preparing to face a disaster. Even in the worst of cases, where everything you own is taken from you, your knowledge will remain.
That’s what you’ll have to depend on to survive.
With enough knowledge, you can use just about anything you can find to survive. Maybe you won’t be living in the lap of luxury, but you’ll be warm, fed and have clean water to drink. That’s a whole lot more than millions of displaced victims of these two hurricanes can say today.
While they might be comfortably hiding away in a hotel room today, they’ll be in trouble when their funds run out. You, on the other hand, won’t run out of funds, because you’ll turn your evacuation into a camping trip.
Throughout history, it has been the more resourceful of us who have been the most successful. Whether that resourcefulness led them to invent new things, find new ways of doing things, or just do the necessary tasks of life.
In the wake of any disaster, it will be those who are the most resourceful who are the most successful as well. That survival knowledge you are learning is what is going to put you in this small, elite group of people.
Build your knowledge and prepare yourself! Your family’s survival will depend on that!