Tag Archives: food security

Cause And Effect: Pandemic + Infrastructure Failure = TEOTWAWKI

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The Earth is a dynamic and constantly changing system. It has always been so and it will continue to be that way until it dies as a result of being swallowed by the sun as it turns into a Red Dwarf and consumes the planets nearest to it, Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars.

We have a few billion years to go before that happens, but the habitable lifespan of the planet is around a billion years as the massive radiation and heat from our dying sun will extinguish all life long before it runs out of hydrogen and the light goes out.

We will most likely be living on other planets by then but we have to survive a lot of years in the interim. So, what is the biggest threat that we will face, whilst we’re waiting for our off-world habitats to be found and built?

  • An EMP, either natural or man-made?
  • Nuclear war?
  • Asteroid impact?
  • A super volcano erupting?

The end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI)could be caused by any or all of the above, not only are they possible, they are  likely if you look at the long-term. The one that keeps me awake at night is an emerging disease that spreads globally.

Emerging diseases are diseases that are just coming to the attention of doctors and scientists, diseases that have just made the jump from animal hosts to human hosts.

Examples are most of the more virulent influenza viruses sickening and killing humans after jumping across the animal human interface from birds. Ebola, Marburg and numerous others have already made the jump and many more will do so in the years to come.

The Ebola and Marburg type haemorrhagic fevers are devastating and have a high morbidity and mortality rate but outbreaks are thankfully rare.

The avian influenza’s will eventually move into humans but at the moment the viruses are showing little inclination to readily pass from human to human…but they will, as soon as enough genetic reassortment has taken place.

The thought of a pandemic flu to which we have no resistance scares the shit out of me, and not just because of the massive death toll either. Can you imagine surviving a pandemic where half the people on the planet are dead? Have you ever really considered what that means? For those of you that have good, make your plans accordingly, for those that haven’t let me enlighten you.

  • There would be dead bodies and the associated smell and disease risk everywhere.
  • Hospitals would cease to function leading to further deaths.
  • Other emergency services will be down…help is not coming anytime soon.
  • The food supply would be hit as both producers and manufacturers would be hit as hard as the rest of us. Store shelves would empty and stay that way.
  • Opportunistic diseases such as typhus would re-emerge.
  • Cholera and typhoid could be endemic in a short space of time
  • Public transportation would most likely be a thing of the past.
  • Essential imports would cease.
  • The grid would fail due to lack of maintenance…and when the grid goes down the odds just got a lot worse for those that survived the pandemic.

A complete infrastructure failure puts the survivors in a full TEOTWAWKI situation and the myriad of problems that go along with it.

All utilities rely on electricity, the water supply would go down with day or two depending on back up generator fuel supplies, the nuclear power stations would last a week if we were lucky as they couldn’t  continue to provide fuel for the back up cooling stations once the storage tanks were empty.

At this point unless those who are left running the country throw everything they have at procuring the fuel needed to run the generators to keep those rods cool we will, as a species, die…irradiated form a mass meltdown of nuclear power station cores and spent fuel rods.

We hear that the infrastructure is being hardened against solar flares and the huge blackouts they cause. We hear about retro-fitting of this that and the other to protect against an EMP attack but we never hear that anything is being done to increase the capacity of backup fuel at nuclear power stations, hospitals and water treatment works in order to keep them running in the event of catastrophic grid failure.

Pandemic preparedness at government level seems to consist of a couple of meetings a year where how many doses of Oseltamivir  (Tamiflu) are kept in stock and how many critical service workers are ‘projected‘ to be incapacitated in such an event.

You cannot project the virulence of a future flu. Most case planning sessions use the 1918-1920 pandemic as a benchmark. That’s fine as far as it goes but its mortality rate was about 2.5% according to Stanford University researchers

So what happens if the powers that be have planned for a 2.5% death rate but the next pandemic is 17% or 21% or 50%? That would kind of screw everything wouldn’t it?

Forward planning at national level should be done with a real worst case scenario in mind, it shouldn’t be based on the worst case scenario we have known so far.

Forward planning at a national or even an international level should be the worst thing you can imagine and then some.

We live in an age where the technology developed over the last 100 years has given us a lifestyle our ancestors could have only dreamed of. That same technology could wipe out life on earth if the system as we know it suffers a catastrophic failure and the plans to deal with that are not in place.

Here are some articles that may interest you:

Deficiency diseases after a collapse:

Take care

Liz