May 18, 2016
Sometimes a cautionary tale is more motivating than any amount of positive reinforcement every could be, and the horrifying reports from Venezuela are a perfect example. If you’re paying attention to the things they’ve run out of, you can put together a collapse supply list to see you through the crisis in the event of a breakdown in our own country. The time to prepare is now, well before the situation devolves to one that is similar.
Every day, there is more dire news out of Venezuela. It’s so bad there that even the mainstream news can no longer ignore that the country is in the midst of an economic collapse. Thousands have turned to looting in order to feed their families. Even their soldiers have been stealing food. Long lines, empty stores, and hospitals without electricity are the norm instead of an unusual occurrence.
It wasn’t always like that. Life before Venezuela devolved into socialism looked a whole lot like our lives do today. In fact, as recently as the 1970s, Venezuela was one of the top 20 richest countries in the world.
So, today, our financial situation certainly looks far brighter than that of Venezuela, but according to a lot of experts, that is a glossy veneer over a crumbling foundation. Obama calls it “peddling fiction” but the outlook here is not good. Financial statistics are massaged and many of them hidden to keep us in the dark. Jobs are nearly impossible to find, and heaven helps you if you lose one. The price of living is going up, but financial solvency is going down as personal debt outstrips the ability to pay it. Pension funds that people rely on are going bankrupt, one after another.
It really isn’t a question of if, but when.
Economic collapse starts out as “going through hard times.” It isn’t mobbed on the streets or regression to Third World status initially. Before it ever gets to that, you have time to prepare. So let’s get started.
Pay Attention to What They’re Out of in Venezuela
The best way to make your supply list is to figure out what they’ve run out of in Venezuela. Below, you can find a list of the things they do not have, along with suggestions for stocking up or educating yourself.
If we never have a problem in the United States, you can rest assured that none of these supplies are crazy things you’ll never use. Most are the most basic of necessities and you’ll find it’s very convenient to be able to “shop in your pantry” whenever you need something. As well, learning to be more self-reliant is a great way to save money, live simpler, and often be healthier than those who depend on the store to meet all their needs.
The first thing we saw as Venezuela began going down was that the government cracked down on the ability to stock up on food. They instituted a fingerprint registry for buying food, made prepping illegal, and began to dole out supplies. The government took over most of the stores, then forced farmers to hand over the majority of their crops at the price the government chose to pay. These crops were then marked up extravagantly and sold to people who suddenly found they could no longer afford to eat. Eventually, the government announced that the country was out of food and that if people wanted to eat, they’d better grow their own.
Supplies mentioned in articles that people have stolen and waited all day in line for are milk, bread, chicken, rice, and flour.
Here’s a list of food and related supplies you should stock up on.
- Long-term emergency food buckets: I never used to stockpile these because most of them have horrible ingredients. However, Preppers Market products are non-GMO, have few additives, and even have gluten free buckets. They’re packed in square containers for easy stacking at the back of your closet, and each container is a month of food for one person. You can build up quite a stockpile this way that doesn’t take up a lot of space. As well, it’s packaged to last for up to 30 years, so you can get it and forget it. (ORDER HERE)
- Build a pantry: Purchase things on sale to build your first line of defense against food instability. The pantry you build today can help you weather difficult times in the future. Stock up on shelf-stable versions of the things you generally consume in your family. You want to create at least a couple of months’ supply where you can supplement what you get at the store with what you have in your kitchen cupboards. Check out my book The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide to Whole Food on a Half Price Budget for details on building your short-term supply. Be sure to focus on pantry staples (here’s a list) so that you can combine ingredients for delicious, from scratch meals.
- Gardening Supplies: Once everyone wants them, the price will skyrocket. Stock up now on seeds, tools, compost bins, soil amendments, and testing kits.These books can help for those who want to start a small-scale homestead:
Also, check out this article: The Self-Reliance Manifesto: More Than 300 Resources to Guide You on the Path to Radical Freedom
- Ways to Garden in an Apartment: I frequently suggest that people take more steps toward self-reliance and there are always folks who say, “That’s fine for you – you live in the country. I can’t grow food in an apartment.” Well, you’d better figure out how to grow food in an apartment, because I can tell you quite clearly, President Maduro’s suggestion that people grow food didn’t have the caveat of “if it’s convenient and you live in the country.” I understand that you can’t raise all of your food in a tiny apartment with a postage stamp balcony. But you can raise something. Lettuce for salads, sprouts that can be used in many different ways, or if you’re really industrious you could try aquaponics and/or rabbits. Everything you do produce can help to supplement the meager rations you may be forced to live on. These books and supplies can help:
- Milk: One of the first things people run out of is milk. If your family regularly drinks milk, or if you add it to your coffee, the lack of it is something that will be immediately evident and make them feel deprived in an already unsettling situation. You can freeze milk when it’s on sale, and you should also stock up on shelf-stable dry milk. That’s the best way to have it on hand for the long haul. (Order Hormone-free dry milk HERE)
It’s important to be able to remain clean if you want to stay healthy. Following are some of the supplies that have been in shortage in Venezuela for months now.
- Laundry detergent
- Toilet paper
- Feminine hygiene supplies
For some of these items, you can learn to make them yourself. For others, you can make or purchase reusable versions.
The country is rationing electricity and has been for quite some time. Currently, there are mandatory rolling blackouts. This is affecting everyday life, in that food can’t be kept in freezers, they are dealing with the hot humid weather without air conditioning, and they must use alternative lighting.
Stock up now on ways to deal with those concerns. These articles, books, and supplies can help you make your plan.
- Learn how to stay warm without using much heat
- Learn how to stay cool without an air conditioner
- Alternative light sources
- Learn home canning to preserve food without relying on your freezer
- Store water (learn the details in THIS BOOK)
- Find water that you can purify using an off-grid filtration system (and get extra filters)
- Learn to use less water
- Sanitation if the toilet won’t flush
Medicine and Medical Care
Your heart will break into a million pieces, but this article from the front page of the NY Times (hat tip to Mary) tells you the real nitty gritty of the situation in Venezuela. A hospital is just as likely to kill you as make you better now, due to terrible sanitation and a lack of supplies.
They’re out of antibiotics, cancer medicine, and equipment. They can’t do dialysis or other life-saving treatments. They have no running water so they’re doing operations on a table still covered with blood from the last patient. The rolling blackouts mean that every single day, babies and other patients dependent on respirators are dying. Doctors are making lists of supplies for the families of patients go out and attempt to procure from the black market.
It is essential that you keep some supplies on hand and that you begin learning all you can about survival medicine.
The best book for that is Cat Ellis’s book, Prepper’s Natural Medicine. It isn’t dependent on expensive, difficult-to-find supplies, but on things you can find in your area. This book is something you absolutely must add to your stockpile. If you can treat most ailments at home and stay away from hospitals, you’re far more likely to survive in a scenario like the one described above. A trip to the hospital in that situation is probably more likely to result in your death than avoiding it altogether.
- Stock up on over the counter medications for pain relief, allergies, colds, diarrhea, and inflammation.
- Some people purchase veterinary antibiotics like this.
- Create a kit of wound treatment supplies to help prevent infection. (This fantastic article can help you decide what you need.)
- I’m a huge fan of Vetricyn. We spray it on human wounds as well as animal ones.
- Besides Cat’s book of natural medicine, look into adding other guides to your stash. I like the field manuals from the US military, which are available on Amazon.
Reprinted with permission from The Organic Prepper.