Where SHTF This Year Around the World

One of the best ways to learn how to deal with a SHTF situation is from real-world examples of how the average person deals with them and which threats are most essential to protect from to ensure their survival. There were plenty of SHTF scenarios this year that we all can learn from. I’ve chosen a handful of the best examples that provide intriguing lessons for even the long-time prepper.

These cover a huge range of scenarios, from military conflict, to flooding, to financial collapse. Although, they aren’t always the most extreme scenarios. After all, one part of prepping is preparing for the small crisis that we could simply survive a lot better. But, others are truly the life-altering experiences that few of us will experience more than once.

1. Philippines

In May 2017, ISIS affiliated forces called the Maute militants attempted to take the Phillippines’ city of Marawi. The siege continues, and martial law has been declared. As of a few weeks ago, the death toll is over 500 (380 of which are terrorists). ISIS has set up snipers and traps that have limited the success of the Philippines’ military response.

There are parts of the city where civilians may have been executed. Australia has provided support, including surveillance of the city, but no one has a complete picture of what is going on there. Rumors are being published about the situation. Unfortunately, at least one analysis suggest a similar siege could happen again.

Battle of Marawi; May 23rd 2017 – Present

If you think you and your community would be able to hold out in a besieged city, you would have to deal with some very gruesome events. Some of those living in the Philippines before the siege have decided to support ISIS. The government has had to bomb their own city. The militants have stockpiled weapons and don’t seem to be running out anytime soon.

Plenty of people chose to run from the situation instead, some as late as three days later, which is where we can learn a lot. It’s important to know generally when you would bug-out during a SHTF situation, depending on what kind of situation. These people would have done better with bug-out-bags, and a way to communicate with their scattered family. We have cellphones, but many of us need to know the number for our kid’s school or daycare, so the school can prep them to go.

Then you have to consider where you’ll end up both during a short-term and long-term situation. Some in Marawi do not plan on ever returning to the city. Also, they may be forced to flee further, if the ISIS siege spreads or is repeated. For Americans, this is a good reminder to have bug-out locations planned not just a few cities over, but also a state, and a few states over.

2. Sri Lanka

It’s not unusual for Sri Lanka to suffer a dengue outbreak, but in 2017 they had their worst ever. There were 89,885 suspected cases of dengue. The potentially deadly infection is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Three to fifteen days later, symptoms develop, usually including fever, headache, pain, vomiting, and a skin rash. In some people, it will also cause bleeding, low blood pressure, and death. There is no treatment, only supportive medicines.

Sri Lanka

The government had to mobilize the army to try to limit the spread of the disease. Mainly, they had to clean up rotting garbage, which had become breeding grounds for mosquitoes in the wet conditions. The lesson here is that our high standards of hygiene in America are our best protection against the spread of many diseases. But, when SHTF, few people really know how to maintain hygiene, including disposing of their garbage, waste, and dealing with their existing plumbing. That’s something every prepper needs to have a plan for, that and a general pandemic plan.

One more thing, dengue causes a fever, yes, but you should never use NSAIDs (like asprin) to treat it, because these thin your blood. You’re already suffering severe blood loss. What’s the lesson to be learned from this tidbit? If you’re not familiar with the disease that’s become an epidemic, you need to seek out medical advice, even if that means listening to radio. You should only treat a new illness without some kind of medical guidance if you absolutely have to, because even everyday medicine, like aspirin, could make it worse.

3. Minnesota

The United States doesn’t experience outbreaks of contagious disease on the scale of undeveloped countries. But, we still have our share of problem diseases and illness. One such illness is the measles. This June, Minnesota alone has experienced more cases of measles than our entire country did last year. Twenty-one people have been hospitalized already in the state, four of those were vaccinated. That seems like a small number, until it effects someone you know. Hopefully, none of these people will die, but there is the possibility, especially for children and the elderly.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

When you think about it, that’s the way many people relate to SHTF events. They don’t think it can happen to them, until it does happen to them, or someone they know. Who was prepared for the first time their power went out? Hopefully, your parents experienced a bad power outage and impressed upon you the need to prepare after you left the nest. The best thing we can do is learn from our personal experience, and learn from other’s personal experience.

Take Gaye’s relationship to vaccines. As she’s said before, she wasn’t sure about vaccination until one of her own children came down with whooping cough. It’s a terrifying experience you never want to go through. Personally, I didn’t think twice about vaccines until my best friend in high school came down with a painful case of mumps, because her parents hadn’t vaccinated her. If I hadn’t had vaccine, and if it hadn’t worked on me (the MMR vaccine is effective 78 percent of the time for a single dose, 88 for a second) I could have gotten the illness too.

Getting Vaccinations

Even if you’re fully on-board with vaccines, there is another lesson here for you. Is there a SHTF situation that is in your “blind spot?” Make sure you’ve considered all of the SHTF events that you want to be prepared for, not just those that are most convenient or fun to prep for. And if there is a disaster you know could happen, but you’re reluctant to prep for, consider why.

As a last tidbit, it may interest most preppers to learn that you can get vaccines which aren’t necessarily recommended by your doctor, but which you might want to invest in as part of prepping. There’s vaccines for cholera, tuberculosis, shingles, yellow fever, and so much more.

4. Louisiana

It’s been almost a year since the Louisiana flooding of August 2016, but there are still on-going lessons from the situation that every prepper needs to hear.

It was the worst flooding the area has experienced in over 500 years. Even those whose homes were outside of designated flood areas had damaged property, or complete loss of home. Thirteen people died. At least 60,000 homes were reported damaged.

Louisiana flooding; August 15, 2016

The obvious lessons are that you should be prepared to bug-out due to flooding, even if you don’t live in a typical flood area. Another lesson is to store more than a week’s worth of supplies. One flood survivor, Jo Lee Misner, told CNN that he had enough flood-proof supplies in his home for a week– but that wasn’t enough.

Further, let’s dig a little beyond the obvious lessons we learned from this disaster. During the event, a group of volunteers called the Cajun Navy attempted to rescue people. When they refused to pay a small administrative fee to become recognized authorities, Louisiana State Senator Jonathan Perry warned they had to stop rescuing people, or they would be stopped by law enforcement.

It’s not just local government that can become an obstacle to rescue efforts. Two nurses that volunteered during the crisis said Red Cross threw out various donations, including food, medicine, and clothing. A Red Cross spokesperson denied that happened, but admitted they do “turn down,” donations for various reasons, including if it didn’t come from a “certified” kitchen.

The key lesson from this disaster is that bureaucratic red tape isn’t disappearing just because there’s a disaster. If you’re a kind soul who plans to donate, either call ahead to the organization, or walk around and hand it out yourself.

5. Qatar

This gulf country came under a blockade from its neighbors this June. The country was accused of supporting terrorism, by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, inciting violence and harming the stability of the overall region. Whatever you think of this claim, the average citizen in Qatar was faced with the possibility of a financial crisis.

Doha, Qatar

If goods from a group of countries were cut off to America, it’s possible such a situation could develop. It’s much more likely that we would face a financial crisis of another sort though. If there were early warning signs of this crisis, what would you do?

One man living in Qatar turned to Reddit to look for answers, and his situation is very informative. There were two primary concerns he was facing: how to protect his savings from the potential inflation, and how to have some cash on hand that is more stable than the local currency: the riyal (remember, in these situations debit and credit often stop working) He was limited, as US dollars, euros, and pounds were already not available in Qatar. The suggestions on Reddit ranged from buying Swiss currency, Japanese currency, bitcoin, and gold for savings storage (making sure those exchange fees were as low as possible) to buying consumer goods for trading purposes.

That’s all great advice for if you’re not in America, but what if you are? Getting cash, or items that can be used for bartering, is still solid advice. Protecting savings by converting them to another currency is not really an option. As the global reserve currency, American dollars are usually the safest bet, and there isn’t too much you could convert your currency into to protect it from a collapse of American dollars. Maybe Russian or Saudi Arabian currency, but it would depend very much on the situation.

A better solution is to buy gold or silver. Get in early if you can, as they’ll rise during any crisis. Sure, there is the option of bitcoin, which will see faster gains than gold, but its not nearly as stable as gold. If we’re talking protecting investments, instead of making short-term investments to profit, then gold is ideal.

Gold and Silver as Sure Investments

Of course, protecting your savings isn’t the only matter you need to worry about if there is a financial crisis in the states. You need to make sure you can take care of your basic needs without relying on too many outside forces. You can find more details about this here.

6. Venezuela

If there is one SHTF situation you need to be aware of, it’s the crisis in Venezuela. There has long been political tension in the country between the socialists and their opposition. Throw in a power-hungry Supreme Court, stagnating oil profits, and a President who is determined to cling to power while others are intent on ripping him down, and you get this desperate situation.

Political suppression, extreme currency devaluation, and a dire food and medicine shortage resulted. The situation is not getting better, with some noting the country is heading to civil war and their neighbors are doing nothing about it.

Venezuelan Protests, 2017

The best lessons in this for American preppers are on the small scale. Families just trying to survive this are caught in a horrible grindstone between the two factions. Many preppers have considered how they would deal with an oppressive police force, but in Venezuela even civilians have organized themselves into a “police force” which is also dangerous to average people, depending on what they think a citizen’s political beliefs are.

Independent news has been shut down, reminding us of how important a long-range communication plan in. Grocery stores are usually empty, but they do get occasional food shipments, which has kept the desperate people crowding around them daily. The last place I would want to be is in those lines. Those who have items to barter and some family or neighbors they can trust are at an advantage.

Yet, perhaps the best lesson to be learned from Venezuela is the feeling of stagnation in the country. The Nation points out that, while many are suffering, mass starvation is not happening. The rich are still comfortable, the poor much less so, but still alive. No one wants to talk about politics, and no solutions have been offered in or outside of the country.

We think about SHTF events as extreme, acute disasters that are over fairly quickly. But this doesn’t have to be the case. And, the longer the disaster, the more optimism and energy drains away from the survivors. One Venezuelan man said, “There’s no light at the end of the tunnel. We’re fucked.” It’s easy to understand his sentiment, and harder to understand how horrible it feels and how bad it is for your survival chances. Morale issues always seem tacked onto a prepper’s plan– but they are truly essential.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’ll be facing small or large SHTF moments in the coming months, we hope this list has given you something to chew over that will help you survive.

Remember, prepping isn’t an achievement, it’s a process. There are always new things to learn from, and changing conditions to look out for.

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There's no better way to prepare for future disasters than by learning from past ones. We've gathered the top 6 best examples of where SHTF this year in our article. Find out exactly where and why to learn from these disasters and prepare better for potential catastrophes!

  1. This is quite possibly the most informative article ever reporting on actual disasters. Certainly it puts into perspective the prepping and survival skills we learned ftom Gaye. We can use this article to organize and fortify our preps, to take some financial steps, to search out more evacuation routes. I WOULD REALLY LIKE TO SEE AN UPDATE OF THIS ARTICLE ON A REGULAR BASIS. Thank you.

  2. I’m a California native. Earthquakes are a part of living in this state. I’ve lived through many earthquakes here. My mom was the best mom and teacher ever. She wanted me to take things serious when we filling up our storage area in our garage with canned goods ( dent free of course) flash lights and fresh batteries, radios,walkie talkies, candles, lanterns, big boxes of matches, hand can openers, blankets, a couple large first aid kits,30 or more sparklets water bottles the kind the sparklets man carried into your house for you and replaced taking the old bottle out. I remember one earthquake where we used much of our saved water. But we ran out of toilet paper!!!!!!!! About three days into no grocery stores open we now were using news paper, paper towels, sears catalogs pages as toilet paper. Thankfully we had food and these other supplies I mentioned to last a month if we had to. And thankfully the next day the grocery store at corner opened. But after that my mom made sure nothing would run out on us like that. She became obcessed with it. My family today laughs at me because I have always stockpiled toilet paper. I made sure to have my emergency big trash cans full of supplies ready and easy to get to.
    I recently did a check on my supplies to update batteries and rotate out canned food that needed to get used, and to check water supplies only to learn that my family had been tapping into these supplies and the trash can itself was almost empty. I was shocked. I’m now redoing my garage kit and I realized someone actually took my bug out bag or moved to it so if needed I’m not able to bug out at time I realize it’s time to bug out. People aren’t taking things seriously and it concerns me. I remember when my son got married and he was in military living at Camp Pendleton in CA. He married a woman who already had two kids. Instant family. He now has one of his own so it’s a family of five. I naturally did the good mom thing and prepared them their emergency supplies and food can in their garage. My sons wife has been in CA her whole life too. No one took that serious. They actually looked at me like I was crazy some doom and gloom but case. I was actually very sad at the strange reaction from them. And my son is in the military living on base with his family next to nuclear power station that has cracks .with earthquake faults tunning along the freeway next to the base. The point is you’d think he of all people, her too would understand that SHIT HAPPENS!!!!! And you can’t gather these things up after the crisis

    I’ve been asking people if they have prepared a survival kits for themselves and their family. I’m shocked to learn how many are prepared.

  3. I live in British Columbia, Canada. This summer we are experiencing the worst wildfires in 50 years. Entire towns have been evacuated. When a fire broke out less than 10 miles from our home we faced the real possibility we would have to bug out. We learned several things from the experience.
    1. Plans need to be reviewed and updated regularly. When my daughter and son in law moved to this property, their evacuation plan was whomever was at home would hitch up the trailer which was already set up for camping, grab the kids and the dog and go. Three years later both are working full time, only one vehicle can pull the new trailer which had not been used yet, I was living with them looking after the boys and had no car.
    2. Anxiety affects performance. This happened on a weekend. After reviewing our plan and finding the weaknesses, we decided to load up the trailer and move it to a safer location. We were not on evacuation alert, there was no emergency yet although the potential was there. We found tempers were short as all 3 adults had their own ideas as to what needed to be done. The boys, both autistic and non verbal picked up on the anxiety very quickly, one hiding in the truck, one lying on the floor of the trailer. Because of their anxiety, one adult had to attend to them instead of loading.
    3. Having a planned destination is important. Because of the boys special needs, we decided on their other grandparents .
    4. Evacuation plans involving ferries are not a good plan.

    The fires are still burning and there is a lot of smoke in the air. My son in law is going to bring the trailer back here as a 5 hour drive to the ferry with the possibility of not being able to get on is not workable. If the fires move closer, we will move the trailer again. We will also have it fully packed and put the boys in the car with their iPads and the dog while we grab our go bags and any last minute things to reduce their anxiety. I have bought a car so that should a lightning strike start a fire very close, I can get myself and the boys out.

    1. You don’t even need to be facing a major catastrophe like what is happening in BC right now (and my prayers are with all those affected by the wildfires!) I just heard that something somehow got into the supply lines and our normally very safe municipal water supply is under a boil water advisory until further notice. Thankfully, I already have a basement full of bottled water and a couple of Lifestraw Family filters. Next major purchase: a Berkey.

  4. I hope Susanne’s situation is safer by now. I personally think, given the political climate, that we all need to take a closer look at the Venezuela situation. And don’t think that it can’t happen here. Selko can sometimes be difficult to read, but his situation in Eastern Europe is a good learning experience.

  5. as a girl i lived in Arizona, and i lived in Nebraska. i lived in a time when you doubled up in the bath with a sibling, because water was low. and i lived in a state where a blizzard could bury your house overnight. people with laugh at my mom for the supplies she bought, which included toilet paper, drinking water, cases of canned pasta, a freezer full of meats and cheese (the meats would have been taken care of my by my mountain woman mother). we also had cases of paper towles, she saved all of her newspapers.

    someone picked on my mom about the case of toilet paper. she told them that when their house is buried under snow, dont be tunneling to our house, asking for toilet paper! LOL!!

    to this day living in Florida, with the issues we have yearly, even the police have been caught looting during Hurricane Katrina! we keep prepping supplies, and food supplies! we have pets and i also have disabilities, so we have supplies to help that too.

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