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Disaster Preparation Series 07: Drought
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Disaster Preparation Series 07: Drought

Because of shifting weather patterns on this spaceship we live on, our planet, moving around the sun at about 18 miles a second, more or less, rainfall can vary dramatically. Some areas seem more prone to drought, caused by the lack of rainfall, than others.

In January of this year, the Mexican government reported drought and cold weather causing food and water shortages over a large area, a monumental survival situation where food and water had to be provided to the people, first the drought lasting almost two years and then the cold weather destroying crops. Two million people were affected.

But we don’t have to go to Mexico to find a drought when just across the border in Texas we have a monster drought situation causing many millions of dollars in loses in the agricultural industry. Africa has always been an arid region, at least some parts, and some areas of that continent are always suffering from drought and the starvation that follows. We often have welfare agencies contacting us asking us to support one child.

Man-made problems are occurring in our world. The misuse of land and forest are causing the desertification of some areas. That means that the land is turning into a desert. This is a major concern of the United Nations. It means that land is lost to agriculture and that people will be starving to death.

Starvation is not only caused by drought. Wars are great breeders of famine and have caused the deaths by starvation of millions. My father told me that he rode horseback from ranch to ranch during WWI to get farmers and ranchers to contribute grain to the Mormon Church so it could be sent to starving church members in Europe. Herbert Hoover acted to stop starvation in Russia and other parts of Europe. The Marshall Plan after WWII was to help the people of Europe when food was very scarce.

During the Korean War I saw the devastation of the land and the abandoned farms and homes of the Korean people. I sat in one multifamily farmhouse and wondered where the people were and whether or not they had survived. In my infantry platoon, we had five Korean soldiers. They had all lost family members and their families were living under desperate conditions. One soldier, Ree Tay Hee, had lost four family members and he seriously wounded after I left. Only his mother and teenage sister survived.

If you study the history of famine, you will find that no continent has been spared. Whole provinces in India were depopulated. China has had some of the worst drought situations with millions dying. Volcanoes caused drought in Japan and killed many people. Even civilizations have had to move because of drought such as with the Mayas.

Right now, there is starvation in Africa and North Korea continues to suffer, the United States recently agreeing to alleviate the situation by sending food in exchange for better communications between the two nations and reduction of nuclear activities by North Korea.

The Bible predicts starvation to come. Because of this, some Bible-reading families put food stores away for a rainy day (actually, a no-rain day). They may have guns to protect those stores in case of anarchy. They do here in the west. I would never take such measures myself but if I had little children depending on me, who knows what I might do.

You don’t have to have a drought to have a food shortage. I mentioned war. But just ask those who have been out of work for the last few years in what is now called the Great Recession.

During the Great Depression when I was a kid, my father took his first pay checks after he finally found work to buy flour and beans which he stacked in my parents bedroom from floor to ceiling. As I watched that stack of food decrease, I realized how much a family of ten (including my grandmother) consumes.

Mormons are told to have a one year supply of food and other necessities if they can afford it and have the room to store it, but even apartment dwellers are encouraged to store some such items. Most Mormons do not have such a supply but some do. Mine has been sitting out in the garage for years because I seldom get into it.

In fact I have given much of it away. I do keep a good supply of food that we eat everyday, always buying food by the case, also other commodities, and never by the can or package if it is a common food for my family.

Our government is now saying that families should have some emergency rations and supplies. That is a good idea. Some things to consider are grains like wheat and rice, pasta, canned goods, oatmeal, dry milk, water, first aid kit, flashlights, toilet and sanitary items, fruit and vegetables that you grow and can yourself, etc.

The government encourages everyone who has space to have a garden. You should also put money away for an emergency situation. A gas tank full of gasoline may come in handy if you get a disaster warning.

You may also think about an auxiliary heat supply in case you lose power, etc. You may need a portable cooking stove. I have a kerosene heater and a camp stove. When our heat went off for the weekend about one week ago, we relied on electric space heaters until a replacement part came in for the furnace. The space heaters performed well for three days, mine and four from the heating contractor, but I had a concern for my wife who has Alzheimer's disease and loves to mess around with things that could hurt her.

Make sure you have needed medications and a good first aid kit.

There are emergency kits and emergency rations available, but mostly you will want to rely on your own ability to prepare. But a kit is good if you have to leave the area where you live.

Over the years my wife bought lots of kits, most of which we have given away. We are old and less likely to need them in our future. It depends on your situation. Ours changed with time.

Does that look like a rain cloud or a dust devil to you?

When I lived in Arizona and studied the Indian cultures, a number of migrations took place because of drought. That is why so many sites were abandoned to us tourist. It can happen to anyone.

Fly Old Glory!


Street Talk

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