Sunday, May 31, 2015

Doomsday Prepper | Act 2

Previously: Doomsday Prepper | Act 1

Knowing what might happen in the event of a magnitude 7.2 earthquake, whose epicenter straddles the towns east of Manila is just half the battle for disaster readiness. With a generation who has never felt the ground quiver like the one that happened more than a decade ago, the government's decision to hold an entire day of Earthquake drills is a wise move. The masterstroke lies in the fact that they set it during the school season, and between two important dates no one should ever forget - August 2 and July 16, terrible days when temblors not only caused the earth to crack open, the violent ground shaking took so many lives as well. My sincere wish is that there is enough time to teach everyone the importance of doing real-life preparations.

For we would never stand a chance.

The government can do so much to educate and prepare its citizens to face this kind of natural disaster. But no one can truly foresee the kind of devastation once buildings collapse and city-wide infrastructure come crashing in the earthquake's immediate aftermath. With this kind of thinking, the heart and soul of every doomsday preparation lies at home, with loved ones who will benefit such foresight. With eight lives at stake, I have made strides to ready my family in the event such calamity happens. There is no guarantee how things would turn out.

What I know is its urgency.

It is my belief that the first five days after the tremor are the most critical to one's personal survival. These are the days when those caught flat-footed would find themselves with no water, money, and even food to keep them sustained, while everyone competes for what resources remain. Keeping this scenario as the foundation for my disaster plan, the provisions I set are supposed to last for over a week. By then, I'm hoping government agencies have already got back to its feet and basic services are delivered to the survivors of the earthquake.

The availability of clean drinking water is the cornerstone of every disaster plan. Realizing that in a catastrophic event such as earthquakes, next to go out of service after electricity and communications is the water supply. The strongest of typhoons serve as reminder of how the elements can disrupt these basic services. With little space available at home, I selected these heavy-duty plastic containers, often used by informal settlers' water storage as our lifeline. They cost only Php 150 in Divisoria and with additional two water jugs scheduled for procurement next month, our water needs - in case Maynilad fails - will be the least of my worries.

Fighting over relief goods when others would risk life and limb for meager supplies has always been in my thoughts every time I do grocery shopping. The sardines, while being staple for many Filipino families hardly get consumed at home. So does the elbow macaroni, which, for some reasons seldom appears on our dinner table these days. The fact that they get little attention make these ready-to-eat meals the best candidate for food stocking. To drive home the government's message of post-disaster resiliency, additional 10 cans of sardines, and 2 bags of elbow macaroni will be added to the stocks we already possess. 

The first idea to make preparations for the "Big One" came after an earthquake struck the islands of Samar and Leyte in 2012. While these violent ground shaking produced little damage in comparison to the Bohol temblor a few years later, realizing that no first aid kit exists at home has transformed me to the Prepper I am today. Unfortunately, a lot of the medical supplies are nearing their expiration dates, and the few useful ones are set to be donated soon. Having this little white box with a cross emblazoned on its surface has its usefulness beyond calamities. What is needed, urgently, is to set the funds for a full replenishment. 

The items most needed for the first aid box are listed here.

What little use is money when ATMs don't dispense cash without electricity? In matters of procuring the basic of necessities, like food and medicine (in case riots and queues need not to happen) how will we ever pay for them? This concern has been haunting me ever since writing the Doomsday scenario for my previous blog entry. The savings cylinder I have in my room, while intended for reasons of compassion, now serves a new purpose. Filled with coins for easy trading, only after its twin repository brims with pennies will I give away the money for charity.


Even the best laid plans can still go awry, and no matter how elaborate this disaster preparation is, the items, which I believe are essential, may be useless in the event of a calamity. Still, a lot of things need to be done, and most of the items that would enable us to endure the harshest of post-tremor scenarios lay scattered around the house, disorganized, without anyone aside from me knowing where they could be found: A battery-operated transistor radio is in the master's bedroom, being used by my mother. The high-powered torch lights are kept in my room, the wax candles lay hidden somewhere in the kitchen. Only the helpers know where they are. We still have no matches, no purifying tablets, no means to open the sardine cans, or even turn the macaroni shells into edible pasta. The very bookcase / study table where I write this post has yet to be screwed against the wall, a huge portrait of my late father leans against a high wall, some light shaking and it will fall to the ground.

Finally, I was told to have a "Grab" bag like every Japanese family have. A little knapsack one could easily snatch in case there is a need to relocate to safer grounds. And until this requirement has been met; until there is certainty my loved ones can endure whatever nature throws our path, the doomsday prepper in me will remain awake and obsessed,

For times have changed, and no one is safe from the elements.

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