By all accounts, the residents of many hurricane stricken areas of the north east are in the midst of a collapse. While FEMA, the National Guard and private relief organizations are in place and providing some level of assistance, the fact of the matter is that for tens of thousands of Americans, the world as they knew it has completely collapsed around them.
What we are witnessing are the immediate after-effects of what is referred to as a grid-down scenario, where utility infrastructure like water and electricity, transportation infrastructure like food and gas delivery, and commerce infrastructure like electronic banking and brick & mortar trade are no longer functioning.
In some areas there has been a total breakdown in emergency response. Without communications it has become impossible for emergency responders to be contacted. For all intents and purposes, law and order broke down within just a few hours of Hurricane Sandy passing over the east coast. Likewise, medical response was unavailable due to overwhelming demand put on the system by hundreds of people reporting simultaneous emergencies.
Almost immediately after the worst of the storm passed, people in the hardest hit areas began to realize how bad things were. Within 72 hours we had complete chaos. People were fighting for gas, digging through trashcans and standing in FEMA supply lines for hours at a time just for a bottle of water and an emergency ration kit.
The hunt for resources had begun.
Looters were hitting grocery and convenience stores, thieves and armed robbers were breaking into personal residences, and tempers flared.
With essential supplies running low and government support lacking, black markets have sprung up to fill the gap.
What has been theorized in previous commentary about what becomes money when the system collapses, became a reality over the last week.
When it hits the fan the only things of value will be the hard assets in your physical possession.
In one report, the cost of a bag of potatoes jumped to $7, up from $3 before the storm hit. The cost of the box of matches appears more than three times the usual cost, and the loaf of bread is more than double the usual cost. (NBC)
I waited in line for 2 hours to fill up a 5 Gallon gas container. I’m willing to sell it for the right price and will deliver! $25 per Gallon OR Shoot us your best offer!! (The Daily Sheeple)
Just got back from trying to deliver 2 generators to Long Island. 220 mile drive one way. Deal was brokered, $7000 cash, for a business owner to open his shop. (SHTF plan)
This is crazy, it’s like post-apocalyptic scenarios, you know with this gas. It’s as important as food and water to people. It’s a dogfight out here (CS Monitor)
Residents in the Queens neighborhood of the Rockaways are using anything they can get their hands on to protect their homes after Sandy devastated their area, including bows and arrows… Locals say they are arming themselves with guns, baseball bats, booby traps — even a bow and arrow — to defend against looters. (Liberty Blitzkrieg)
The largest number of complaints are related to increased gasoline prices, he said in a statement, but consumers also have reported possible gouging for emergency supplies like generators and hotels raising rates due to “high demand,” as well as increased prices for food and water. (Huffpost)
[Editor's Note: During the first economic and financial panic to hit Greece in 2010, citizens of the country scrambled to convert their currency to gold when they thought the system was about to go under... A large portion of Greek commerce has since moved into underground markets.]
Prices at which the Greek Central Bank is selling one ounce gold equivalents are as high as $1,700 (40% over spot), and prices on the black markets are even higher. (Zero Hedge)
Arguing the right and wrong of “price gouging” is off no consequence. What matters is that prices for key supplies will rise exponentially as their supply dwindles. This is a natural effect of rising demand, especially if that demand is driven by panic buying.
Food, gas, clean water, batteries, self defense armaments, shelter, clothing, ammo, precious metals and related preparedness supplies are a must-have in any grid-down scenario. First and foremost you can use these and other supplies to survive or at the very least, remain comfortable. Second, you can use these items for trade as their value soars.
The north east will recover in due time, just as New Orleans did after Hurricane Katrina. This emergency is limited in scope and the government was already actively employing emergency response plans prior to the disaster. However, as we have seen over the week since Sandy struck, there is simply no way for government to be able to manage a crisis that is spread over a wide area and involves tens of thousands of ‘victims.’
What we’ve learned is that when it comes down to it, those in areas affected by a disaster will have no one else to rely on but themselves.
Having key supplies and tools prepared in advance of an emergency is absolutely critical to your well-being and survival.