Ask any prepper why they prepare and you’ll get a variety of answers: Societal collapse, major natural disaster, zombie apocalypse (whatever that is), or nationwide economic breakdown. If you’ve been following international news, you are probably aware the (socialist) economy in Venezuela is in free-fall. According to the Associated Press, shortages now top the nation’s list of concerns, even more than safety. ATM limits of $8.00 per day have not kept pace with triple-digit inflation. Long lines at pharmacies, banks, gas stations and even the mortuary don’t compare to the lines at grocery stores. When the grocery supply trucks fling open their doors, no one knows if they will contain pantry staples or dog food. Identification cards with fingerprint verification are used to monitor grocery purchases and shoppers are restricted to one shopping trip every eight days. Are you getting the picture?
So what are they really short of? Everything actually, but primarily, food. On one hand the Venezuelan government is telling people that it’s illegal to hoard food, and at the same time they tell the citizenry they need to grow their own food. There was no exception or provision for those living in urban apartments. (Check out my blog entries on growing sprouts in a quart jar.) Then there’s the shortage of hygiene items. Laundry soap, toilet tissue, toothpaste, feminine items and paper towels. The list goes on and on.
How do you prepare against a nationwide shutdown? Almost the same way you would prepare for any other disaster. With an economic meltdown, there will be little damage to the physical infrastructure. But every other system, service and supply line will be crippled. Think of what’s on your shopping list and consider what all you would run short of if you couldn’t go to the store for a month, or longer. Some of us go to the store every day to buy groceries for dinner. Few people think ahead with no concern for anything ever going wrong. I wonder if those folks in Venezuela thought their government would somehow make it all okay and ensure their needs were met as always? Many of us in the U.S. are exactly of that opinion. We relax in the comfy hammock of government oversight and so-called consumer protection, not suspecting how fragile that entire house of cards may be. Check your pantry, storage closet and supplies to see if you have on hand what you’d need to survive a lengthy period. If you’re an urban apartment dweller, your needs and plans will differ from those of us in a rural setting. Urban folks, need to decide to either “shelter-in” or to bug out. Make your plans now! City folk need to understand when there are shortages, there will always be those who are not shy about crossing the line to forcibly take what they need.
The phrase, “May you live in interesting times,” seems to be seeking fulfillment these past months. Increased racial tensions, attacks on police officers, attempted coups, and terrorist activity across the globe make for a pandemic of global instability. If you think this doesn’t affect you and the security of your loved ones, then snuggle down into your little hammock of denial and trust the government to meet your needs.
As always, send your comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous columns can be found on my blog at www.disasterprepdave.blogspot.com. Dave Robinson is a retired Postmaster and the author of “Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us,” available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online booksellers.