With the intensity of natural disasters growing year by year and seeing that such disasters can relocate a large number of people, we can’t help but wonder where all these will people end up.
In the last decade or so, we’ve all witnessed a large number of refugees fleeing a country ravaged by war or brought to its knees by the economic meltdown. Some of them managed to integrate rather peacefully in their new environment while others have become a problem for the countries that made all the efforts to resettle them.
I can understand the concern of some people having to deal with external refugees, but what concerns me the most is that nobody is talking about the domestic ones. The people that have the same rights as you and me, the ones being forced to relocate due to reasons or events that were out of their control.
If a major disaster occurs in the United States or some apocalyptic event if you will, we will have to deal with a human exodus right here and now and we have no clue to what this may lead to.
What are domestic refugees?
Currently, the people you work with, the people you know on a personal level and distant relatives you visit once a year, can all become domestic refugees at some point.
The people that are forced to migrate inside their own country is what we call domestic refugees. The ones that are forced to move from one place to another in search of a safer living area where they can regrow their roots.
I’ve often heard preppers call these people “the unprepared,” but that’s not how this really works. No matter how well-prepared you are, an event that will force you to relocate can happen to anyone. It may be right that if you are a prepper or a homesteader living off the grid, your chances of surviving a SHTF event are higher, but sooner or later, you will have to interact with these refugees.
Should we be concerned about them?
We live in a great country with infinite development potential for everyone, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have our own refugees. I honestly believe that this is something that needs to be addressed, and people seem to forget that there are certain events that can cause a great human migration within our borders.
You’re probably aware of the warnings NASA has been issuing for the past 15 years regarding the solar activity and how it can affect our way of life and send us back to the dark ages. While the government is preparing for such a scenario for a few years now, the general public will have to deal with the outcome of such an event on their own.
Imagine a large city hit by an EMP. That area will not be able to sustain life once the resources are cannibalized. People will have to move in order to survive.
How will domestic refugees behave when SHTF?
As history showed us, people act differently when resources are scarce, and their survival is at stake. They will either migrate to a friendlier environment, or they risk it all and try to make it work with what their current environment has to offer, often competing with others over what is left. While this might have worked in the past, in our modern world, where we are chained by technology, the survival spirit of humans is bearly alive.
Modern humans will act like locusts, and once they cannibalize the resources from an area, they will move to the next one. They will continue to do so until they find a place that could accommodate most of them.
Unfortunately, very few have the knowledge to survive and start over with what they can find in a particular environment. Even if there are some who manage to start over, things will not go smoothly because they will eventually have to fend off wave after wave of domestic refugees. Not to mention that the locals will not welcome everyone with open arms since there are unknown factors that can put all of them in danger.
The longer people will struggle to survive, the more desperate they will become. And once desperation settles in, they will do whatever they can to survive another day. The worst part is that some of them already have the means and knowledge to fight for what they believe is the right thing.
As preppers and law-abiding citizens, we have to understand that not only external refugees can become a problem when SHTF. Land and resources have always been the reasons for starting a conflict and building kingdoms. I believe that before we prepare for external threats, we should at least acknowledge that someday we may have to handle and deal with the local refugees.
How to deal with local refugees?
Now, this is the million-dollar question, and it’s quite hard to provide a proper answer. However, there are many factors that can influence the outcome of such a scenario. One thing I can tell you for sure is that you are the lone wolf type, you won’t be able to survive for long. In this case there is safety in numbers, and you should have your own survival group.
A post-collapse community is a must, and it should cover all aspects of organization and leadership. If you are part of such a community, you have better chances of surviving than staying hidden all the time and ahead of the “heard.”
Even with a community, there will be people coming and requesting access. The leader and main pillars of the community will have to consider the implications of allowing more people in. Every decision they make will eventually affect the entire community.
Besides having one more mouth that needs to be fed, they also have to put in balance the benefits outsiders may bring to the community.
There are some general guidelines that can be followed as a survival group when taking new people in.
- Access can and should be granted if the person is known in the community or owns property within its boundaries. Access should be granted only if the person can prove ownership of said property. This can be done by showing some form of identification or by other residents vouching for them.
- Access can and should be granted if the person is a family member of current residents. However, this will often be done only if the residents acknowledge responsibility for them. If the community can no longer accommodate new people, a voting process will be required to make sure everyone is on board with the decision (whatever it may lead to).
- Access can be granted if the newcomer proves that he or she owns specific skills that are needed the needs of the community or improve its development. Every survival group has its own strength and weaknesses and new people should be accepted only if they can increase the strength of the survival group. This also requires a vetting process and residents within the community that have similar skills should be involved.
Unfortunately and although it may seem inhumane to do so if the refugees have no propriety or familial connection within the community or the ability to offer necessary skills and experience, they should be sent on their way.
In most cases, refugees will request food and water if they are not granted access. However, chances are there won’t be any room for charity. Depending on the nature of the event and the size of your community, there might not be enough supplies to have the luxury to give some away. The needs of the community will always come first.
Such situation may lead to unpleasant situations where you might have to remove the strangers from the perimeter of the community.
You have two options to do so:
- Deny access at gunpoint. It may well come to that if people are desperate.
- Escort them along a specific route through town, to the other side.
You should never detain them, and you should explain the reasons why they need to move along.
Regardless the option you will face, there are some pros and cons, that the leaders need to take into account.
If you deny them access and ask them to leave, there is the danger of them attempting to enter the community through an unobservable point. Even if the area is patrolled, you won’t be able to keep it under 24/7 surveillance. The good part about this approach is that if it works, the outsiders won’t see what’s inside at all. They will not be able to spread the word about what you have and mark your community as a target.
If you decide to escort them through the community, you have the guarantee that they’ve moved on and you are able to keep an eye on them until they do so. The bad part is that you will basically give them a guided tour of the community, and this puts you in a vulnerable position. They may use the knowledge against you, or they can trade the information to someone else down the line.
Whatever the leaders decide to do, it’s important that everyone involved in the decision-making process is aware of the rules and they have the strength to enforce equality to the letter.
The guards of the community, the first to get in contact with the refugees should be instructed on how to act under various conditions. Even more, they should have a selection measure well established for letting someone in. It may sound amusing, but they shouldn’t let someone advance or enter the community just because they are an attractive person.
If some of the refugee approaching the community has the skills desired by the community should be detained in a location near the gate until questioned further. As I’ve said before, the needs of the communities will vary based on the number of members, location, and available resources.
In any survival group/community, the most desirable skills are:
- Medical – including alternative medicine
- Food preservation
All potential new members need to be quarantined for a couple of days before being granted full access inside the community. They need to be examined by medical personnel to make sure they are not carrying any disease. The quarantine should be located near the outskirts of the community to prevent the spread of the disease the refugees may be carrying.
Another thing mandatory is to question every potential new member, and it’s best to do so during the quarantine period. They should be asked about the world outside the community since they are the ones who can provide an exact picture of what is happening outside. What they saw, what they heard are details that can become crucial to the survival of the community.
Every new member needs to be supervised and educated, so he or she may properly be integrated into the community. This will help them understand the rules that can often time may greatly vary from what is considered common sense and it will help them to stay out of trouble.
When it comes to a major scale disaster, we must acknowledge that the event will create what is known as domestic refugees. Survival is possible only within a properly structured community, and you can’t make it without one, no matter how much you struggle.
A community will help you deal with those surviving the disaster and handle the human factor carefully. The human factor is the most unpredictable of all the things following a disaster, and it becomes difficult to prepare for when everyone has the same rights, the same knowledge of the land and the same will to survive.