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HomePreppingWhat a Prepper Realized Surviving a Flood of Biblical Proportions

What a Prepper Realized Surviving a Flood of Biblical Proportions

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By the creator of Avenue Survivalism: A Sensible Coaching Information To Life In The Metropolis and The Final Survival Gear Handbook

Solely 13 months have handed since I wrote an article telling of my expertise as a volunteer after the catastrophic storms and landslides that killed greater than 60 individuals in my state’s North Shore area. The same but even larger tragedy is unfolding, this time in Brazil’s southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul. 

Earlier this month, it rained greater than half the amount anticipated for the whole yr in just a few days. Based on the Brazilian Geological Service (SBG), a uncommon confluence of circumstances amplified by the El Niño phenomenon brought about deluges so off-the-charts technicians thought the monitoring tools was malfunctioning. It wasn’t, sadly.

Pure occasions like that occur on a regular basis all over the world. Rain season is inflicting floods in East Africa, with greater than 400 deaths and a cholera outbreak due to the identical El Niño phenomenon. Tsunamis, tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanoes, earthquakes, snow storms – the planet is alive. The forces of nature are continuously hitting someplace to humble us.

Regardless that the variety of deaths within the Rio Grande do Sul floods – greater than 150 in the intervening time – is a fraction of these brought on by Hurricane Katrina, the stage of devastation is being in contrast to that of New Orleans in 2005. The floods impacted over 400 of the state’s 497 municipalities; 850.000 individuals had been affected, and 185.000 needed to depart their properties. A whole lot are nonetheless lacking. 

It’s not over, and the worst is but to return.

Final week, the sky cleared for just a few days, offering some respite and permitting rescue and help efforts to advance. Nevertheless, the rain has returned, and the waters are rising once more. The streets of most cities have was rivers, and the one strategy to transfer round is by helicopter, boat, jet ski, or canoes. Off-road 4X4s have restricted attain however are making a distinction the place they will journey.

This catastrophe has hit arduous for me as a result of I’ve lived a part of my infancy in Rio Grande do Sul’s capital, Porto Alegre. My dad and mom have associates and kinfolk there, and even these indirectly affected by the floods are in a dire state of affairs due to the semi-paralyzed economic system. Rio Grande do Sul is extra intensive than the UK, Ecuador, or the state of Nevada. Now think about 80% of a populated area that giant underwater to have an concept of the disaster.  

I’ve this pal who lives along with his household in one of the vital affected municipalities. He’s a prepper and did road survival coaching with me whereas working in my city simply earlier than COVID-19 hit. We’ve been involved for the reason that storms started. Fortunately, they’re protected; I’m attempting to assist by lending an ear, offering recommendation and ethical assist, and sending weekly donations collected amongst a gaggle of associates. 

Regardless that a bit shaken and very drained, he felt duty-bound to offer an account of the occasions so I may share with others the within perspective of somebody with a preparedness mindset and the way that has made a distinction for him on this grave SHTF. 

Hopefully, most of us won’t ever undergo something like that, however we by no means know.

Listed here are the notes from my pal

Nonetheless, I needed to honor the efforts of somebody sharing his experiences and learnings amidst a catastrophe. Beginning off with the preparations which have labored for him to date: 

  • A firearm to guard individuals and property from criminals. They may at all times are available in these conditions, that’s for positive. In fact, an AR can be finest, however these aren’t permitted or offered right here. He has a pistol, however a revolver, a 12G, and even an previous two-barrel will work to maintain potential attackers away by making them transfer to simpler targets.
  • Radios: Walkie-talkies and HTs are sometimes utilized in rescues, however most individuals stranded in far-away and remoted locations use widespread AM/FM radios to get information. We continuously focus on how analog and “previous” applied sciences are much less susceptible and can assist throughout these conditions, and it’s 100% true. Fashionable tech is efficacious, however we should have a backup plan for when it fails. 
  • A photo voltaic panel: Intense use means smartphone batteries run empty shortly. He’s the one one in his space with a compact photo voltaic panel. It’s getting used on a regular basis (when there’s solar) to recharge small electronics.
  • Tenting gear: Stuff that works in each situation and has allowed him to prepare dinner, filter, boil water, and keep heat. Because the flood has destroyed the furnishings, they’re utilizing hammocks with bug nets to sleep in an elevated (i.e., protected) place.
  • Water remedy: Whereas most others rely on bottled water distributed by the organizations, which is closely rationed and logistically difficult, he’s utilizing a filter and chemical remedy to remain self-reliant. 
  • First-aid package: It’s important to have one at hand and know tips on how to use it. Until you sit nonetheless inside your home (if that’s protected and even attainable), you’ll get bruises, burns, cuts, and blisters simply from doing the essential stuff, or a chilly, possibly a stiff neck and sore again from sleeping little and in dangerous positions, and so forth (hopefully nothing extra severe). 
  • Lanterns and flashlights: These are important for doing issues at night time and for exhibiting potential invaders there’s somebody in the home. Headlamps are finest, as they free fingers.
  • Dry garments: It’s both scorching or chilly, however we’re moist more often than not, so it’s at all times good to save lots of just a few clothes modifications to maintain you dry and extra comfy at night time. 
  • Bug spray and solar safety: The waters are nonetheless excessive, however bugs are already an issue. It’ll get a lot worse; I warned him to organize for hell on earth as soon as it recedes and issues dry. I’m sending some severe bug spray and bug coils his manner so he might be prepared as soon as that comes. Sunburns can be a problem and utterly knock you out.
  • Stockpiles: He saved some meals stocked with him however took most to his relative’s place the place his household is staying. It’s good to have one thing additional to share with these welcoming you.
  • Meals: Something sugary is superb as a result of it gives fast vitality and luxury, particularly within the first week after the catastrophe. However salty meals is what retains the abdomen full and stamina up. He’s been on a honey, potato chips, canned tuna, beef jerky, and chocolate eating regimen. There’s no bread, solely rice – when he can prepare dinner some. And yerba mate, an area custom, to maintain them heat and caffeinated when the day ends.
  • Drones: “Prosumer” drones (like these from DJI) can assist in some ways throughout a flood when mobility is tough at finest and unimaginable at worst. Volunteer teams, authorities, search events, and the inhabitants are utilizing drones to assist find individuals and animals, to speak and name for assist, for safety and regulation enforcement (an enormous difficulty throughout this catastrophe). 
  • Software set: To maintain stuff operating, to repair all types of stuff, to scavenge, to free trapped individuals and chained pets, all types of issues. Dozens of functions all over the place at all times have important instruments round in a catastrophe. (Right here’s an article about important instruments for preppers.)

The teachings

The primary lesson: It pays to organize.

We all know that already, nevertheless it hits in another way coming from a prepper in the midst of an ongoing SHTF. People don’t have ultra-refined instincts and senses, fur, or sharp tooth and claws, and regardless that we now have intelligence to our benefit, we want instruments to outlive in most circumstances. Not solely can tools and provides assist enhance our state of affairs and our household, however having some expertise and, above all, the right mindset will make a distinction. 

The second lesson is humility.

There’s little we are able to do within the face of nature’s energy. Expertise is superb; people are artful creatures; we be taught, enhance, and put together. However there are limits to all that, and each from time to time, some sudden, large-scale, widespread, or highly effective occasion will catch you abruptly and overwhelm even the best-prepared particular person, construction, group, or nation.

It doesn’t matter what we do, these items will hold occurring and taking a toll. Getting hit, surviving or not, is extra a matter of luck than most of us wish to imagine. Being a prepper helped him and his household survive the preliminary blow and is making a distinction post-disaster, however he talked about how powerless we’re within the massive scheme of issues. 

Prepping is acknowledging all that, accepting what we are able to’t management, and dealing on what we are able to when issues are good. We can not keep away from, however diminishing the affect of a catastrophe, decreasing our weight on the rescuing efforts, and warranting a headstart in reconstructing our neighborhood when the worst is behind is realistically achievable. All the pieces else is within the fingers of God. 

Phases of a pure catastrophe

It’s at all times helpful to know the dynamics of a catastrophe and floods have their script.

Because the rain poured down, individuals waited and hoped it will go away. As soon as the waters started to rise, everybody was simply attempting to keep away from hazard and keep alive. After that comes the rescue section, and the searches start as soon as the worst is over. These are nonstop and should be hurried as a result of each minute counts in lives. 

As soon as the state of affairs stabilizes, it’s time to start out rebuilding, however there are second and third-order developments that may final for years, even many years. Losses are estimated within the billions, the prices of such large-scale disasters are at all times astronomical. If that occurs in a strategic area or state, count on mid and long-term disruptions to affect a nation’s economic system and have an effect on different components of the nation, probably even its exports. 

I imagine this would be the case as Rio Grande do Sul is a vital agricultural, industrial and industrial powerhouse answerable for greater than 6% of Brazil’s GDP. I additionally imagine this tragedy will reshape the entire state and affect different components of Brazil and its economic system. It’s going to certainly have an effect on the upcoming municipal elections, possibly even the 2026 presidential elections, very similar to how the pandemic impacted that of 2022. Possibly whole cities must be moved. The world and the variety of individuals affected are too massive, the results will likely be huge. 

Past direct destruction

My pal famous water is especially harmful as a result of it’s both advanced or unimaginable to comprise. You’re feeling utterly powerless. As an engineer, I can affirm his evaluation is 100% true. Massive volumes of water have huge quantities of vitality when it accumulates and flows. That’s why it’s used to generate energy, however when these processes aren’t managed, water will take the whole lot in its path, assured.

There’s extra: floods, whether or not brought on by a storm, hurricane, or tsunami, create a poisonous mixture of mud, particles, sewage, and all types of stuff that infiltrates all over the place. Tools and infrastructure get demolished; homes and buildings get contaminated; crops and soil get washed away; vegetation and commerce lose tools and stockpiles; autos are broken or destroyed; animals and other people get sick and die. (Right here is extra data on the risks in flood waters.)

I suggested him based mostly on my expertise to remain alert and ready as a result of issues can hit the fan once more, and to save lots of his vitality and well being as a result of it would get much more problematic when the water goes away. That will sound preposterous within the face of the state of affairs, nevertheless it’s true, and he’ll should be twice as resilient. Water remains to be excessive, it’s raining, however the whole lot will develop into very poisonous as soon as it recedes and the whole lot begins to dry. In lots of locations, there’s already that scent of demise. So proper now, he’s targeted on holding his household protected and serving to others; that’s the most effective he can do. 


Safety has develop into a problem nearly as massive because the rising waters. Homes and industrial institutions are being invaded, looted, robbed, and deprecated. There are individuals looking out for something that may be stolen, profession criminals, and in addition these benefiting from the state of affairs. Roughly 10 to twenty% of the inhabitants has refused to depart.

When boats and helicopters began arriving with meals, water, medication, and donated garments, he promptly accepted regardless that he was ready and had sufficient for himself and his cousin for over a month. Since others in his neighborhood are taking the assistance, he went with the movement in order to not stand out. They’re collaborating within the rescue efforts and discreetly donating their surplus.

Opposite to what many imagine, neighbors aren’t often a risk and develop into allies in opposition to overseas attackers similar to criminals and looters. There are exceptions. Some neighborhoods are worse than others, however that bond has remained robust to date in his space. Individuals know the regulation is weak, however it would return, and wrongful acts could have penalties. There have been occasional outliers, however locals are coping with abuses and misdemeanors, which have labored as a deterrent in most locations.

My pal and his cousin have been scavenging, too; it’s a strategy to discover useful stuff for themselves and others. Showing despondent isn’t assured to work each time, however it will possibly discourage potential looters from trying an invasion. 

I’ll come again with extra information and helpful data as quickly as attainable. 

Have you ever ever skilled a serious catastrophe like this? What had been your takeaway classes? What’s your recommendation to these coping with an enormous flood?

Let’s focus on it within the feedback.

About Fabian

Fabian Ommar is a 50-year-old middle-class employee residing in São Paulo, Brazil. Removed from being the super-tactical or extremely educated army survivor kind, he’s the common joe who since his youth has been concerned with self-reliance and outside actions and the sensible aspect of balancing life between a giant metropolis and rural/wilderness settings. Because the 2008 world financial disaster, he has been coaching and serving to others in his space to develop into higher ready for the “fixed, slow-burning SHTF” of residing in a third world nation.

Fabian’s e-book, Avenue Survivalism: A Sensible Coaching Information To Life In The Metropolis , is a sensible coaching technique for widespread metropolis dwellers based mostly on the life-style of the homeless (real-life survivors) to be extra psychologically, mentally, and bodily ready to take care of the cruel actuality of the streets throughout regular or tough instances. He’s additionally the creator of The Final Survival Gear Handbook.

You possibly can observe Fabian on Instagram @stoicsurvivor


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