This point needs to be upfront. FEMA – the federal .gov – tells you IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS that you need to be able to take care of yourself in the event of a disaster. They are telling you to PREPARE ahead of time. Too bad most people don’t listen to them, and instead expect them to do things they say they cannot do. (Links are below)
FEMA was overwhelmed by Hurricane Andrew and by Hurricane Katrina and now it is overwhelmed by Hurricane Harvey. You can hope that a bunch of bureaucrats can take care of everyone in the next disaster OR you can follow the advice that they give and be prepared to take care of yourself and your family. Be prepared with AT LEAST 72 hours of food, water, medicine, etc. Shelters overwhelmed by the number of Harvey victims seeking it – Houston Chronicle
First, they don’t have the food needed for this disaster.
By Monday morning, more than 2,000 flood victims had taken refuge there, and the Red Cross was rationing food. No one between the ages of 10 and 75 who wasn’t sick or pregnant could get a meal.
One of the refugees they portray – who had to change shelters at least once – passed out on either Sunday or Monday (it doesn’t say) due to dehydration. Considering the amount of rain that has fallen on Houston in the past few days, that just seems wrong on several levels.
Cots are in short supply at some shelters. Other shelters are cut off from everything by flood waters. (The Red Cross and FEMA apparently don’t have access to any boats for delivering those supplies.) Supplies at central depots don’t do much good right now, though they will help by the end of he week I’m sure.
So what does FEMA say you are supposed to do? Build A Kit. All in all it is a good list considering how short it is. Don’t want to overwhelm people! But the first 2 items are worth repeating here.
• Water – one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
• Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
This info is somewhat buried on the Ready.gov website, but it is there. Which is a bit amazing to me. The federal .gov is telling you that you can’t rely on them to save your ass. For AT LEAST 3 days. (Just when you thought you would never see honesty in government!) It is beyond 3 days in Houston, and I would say that they still have a way to go.
Since I am prepared to bug out, and I don’t fancy the idea of carrying gallons of water in a backpack, I have water filtration straws I can carry. I also have fairly industrial-grade water filters if I can stay home. In a hurricane you can catch rain water (which is usually drinkable) with a clean tarp and a clean container to hold the water and some rope or something to suspend the tarp. When metric tons of water have just been dropped on you, there is no reason that anyone should be dealing with dehydration.
Now maybe you can’t stay in your home. Due to flooding in Texas or wildfires in California or whatever. That doesn’t change your responsibility to take care of yourself and your family. But it does require you do a little preparation ahead of time. A backpack. Decent shoes or hiking boots. Supplies of food and source of water. Clothes. Medicine. Whatever.
And yes, I know that not everyone is physically able to walk out of a disaster area. If all the able-bodied people took care of themselves, it would be a lot less work for the city, the state and the feds to deal with who was left. If you look at the Houston Chronicle article, there are the required photos of the elderly and infirm, but if you view the entire gallery there are a lot of able-bodied folks who apparently think it is not their responsibility to take care of themselves in any way. And this just plain wrong.