This week in our doomsday blog round up we explore near misses and possibilities, take a look at the deadliest earthquake in history, a closer look at flu pandemics and the nuclear threats of North Korea. Disaster possibilities always loom whether you are a hardcore prepper or simply prepared for the unexpected. Some disasters, though, can strike fast and hard with no warning.
The Deadliest Earthquake in History
This month touts the anniversary of one of the most awe-inspiring natural disasters in human history. It wasn’t the biggest earthquake on record, but 1556 Shaanxi earthquake during the Ming Dynasty was the deadliest. On the morning of January 23, the ground shook with a force estimated at 8.1 on the Richter scale. It was a large earthquake, but not as large as the Great Chilean Earthquake in the 1960s, which measured at 9.5. All the same, the Shaanxi earthquake destroyed an area that was 520 miles wide and in some of the affected area killed as much as 60% of the population. It was estimated that 820,000 people died in the quake. Much of the population lived in caves dug into cliffs or in primitive buildings, none of which stood a chance in a good shake. Much like the large loss of life in the Haitian earthquake, the biggest cause of death was the failure of living structures. We have learned a lot about earthquakes and saving lives in the event of a big one, but can we be sure we are prepared?
One in Five Suffered from 2009 H1N1 Pandemic
According to a study released by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Imperial College London, the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic infected on in five people, which is 20 to 27 percent of the people in Britain, China, India, the United States and 15 other countries. Children between the ages of five and 19 years-old had a 47 percent infection rate. The study was achieved by collecting more than 90,000 blood samples before, during and after the pandemic. These samples were tested for antibodies specific to a response to this strain of flu. While this pandemic wasn’t as deadly as it could have been, the infection rate is making scientists wonder how bad a more deadly strain could have been.
Is the United States Ready for the Next Big Flu Pandemic?
David J. Dausey, Ph.D. who is the chairman of the Public Health Department at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa. as well as the founding director of the Mercyhurst Institute for Public Health recently published an opinion piece with some sobering thoughts on the flu. The piece which was published in The Buffalo News states clearly that the United States is nowhere near ready for a flu pandemic. While there was a team of scientists and professionals working toward a comprehensive plan for managing a pandemic following 911, Dausey feels that the recession brought much of this progress to a screeching halt. Dausey states, “We need to be ready to respond not only to a “bad” influenza season but also to a catastrophic one. That requires bipartisan support for sustained investment in local, state and federal public health preparedness that is viewed as a priority even in tough economic times.”
North Korea Threatens United States
On January 25th North Korea threatened to conduct its third nuclear test with Washington as its target. While North Korean officials did not specify the details of the test, they did lash out at the US in a statement. “We don’t hide the fact that the various satellites and long-range rockets which the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] will fire one after another and the high-level nuclear test we will carry out are targeted at the United States, the sworn enemy of the Korean people” the National Defense Commission said in a statement carried by official news agency KCNA. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the Obama administration is “prepared to deal with any kind of provocation” from North Korea. While North Korea has been rattling its sabers for some time, surely this leaves many preppers pondering the possibilities of nuclear war. Perhaps it’s not a bad idea to have a friend with a bunker.
This week we meet a prepper named Frank who is planning to bug out by seaplane to his underground bunker in the woods of Maine. We also meet Brian Brawdy as he prepares for his fear: a terrorist attack. Brian spends the majority of his time mobile and on the road in his ultimate bug-out vehicle. Perhaps if you are a moving target, you are more likely to stay safe. Check out Doomsday Preppers: Hit the Ground Running and meet several preppers who live off the grid. Do you think you can live a life of constant bugging out? Tune in to Doomsday Preppers this Tuesday February 5 at 9PM et/pt and decide for yourself.