Get any group of preppers together to talk about potential TEOTWAWKI events, and EMP is bound to come up. Of all the possible disaster scenarios that you can imagine, it’s hard to come up with something that would more completely change our lives here in the United States, than being attacked via EMP. From Forstchen’s “One Second After” to hundreds of articles written about the subject, we’ve folded, spindled and mutilated the subject of EMP to the point where it appears that we should all know what we’re talking about.
Yet in the midst of all this talk about EMP, it’s startling how little we actually know about it. Not only is there a lot of misinformation which has been spread around, but the amount of accurate information is inhibited by the fact that we’ve never experienced one. Most of the empirical data that we have is based upon a few isolated tests run in the early 1960s. Very little actual experimentation has been done to add to that data.
With that being the case, much of what we talk about is speculation, extrapolated from the little bit of hard data that we do have. Much of the technology we use today didn’t even exist during the Starfish Prime tests; so there really is no proof of how an EMP will affect cell phones, the “brains” in cars and even modern aircraft.
Nevertheless, there are some things which are certain, based upon the information that we have. Amongst these, the most important is that the electrical power grid will be seriously damaged by the EMP. So, regardless of whether our phones and cars are working five minutes after the event, the systems which support them won’t be. With that in mind, it really doesn’t matter if our phones and our cars still work; our phones won’t work without the network and our cars won’t work without fuel.
What About Other Countries?
Typically, when we look at an EMP scenario, it’s done as if the United States lives in a vacuum, without any other countries involved, other than the attacking country. Yet we are a part of a global community. So that raises the question about what these other countries might do.
That’s not a simple question. But I think there are some things we can clearly state.
First of all, if the United States electrical grid is destroyed by an EMP, so would at least half of Mexico’s grid and Canada’s grid. This would probably have a more serious impact on Canada, as their culture is closer to ours and they are more dependent on electricity than Mexico is. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in Mexico, and while they have all the modern conveniences that we do, they are also much closer to a life without electricity. The people know how to survive without it, especially in the rural areas.
The other thing that will affect Canada is that most of their population is in the southern part of the country, near their border with the United States, putting them right in the area covered by the EMP.
Considering that they would be in as much trouble as we are, there’s no way we could expect much help from Canada or Mexico. Not only that, but any help coming from other countries would not only be directed to the USA, but also to our neighbors. For example, help coming from South America would most likely be sent to Mexico, as they have a closer cultural connection.
On the other hand, Europe and Japan would probably reach out to help the USA, as well as other countries around the world. When Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, 98 countries pledged support. While the State department didn’t accept the help all of those countries offered, it was nice to see that other countries were willing to help.
But in reality, of the $854 million in aid offered, only $40 million ever reached those who needed the help. For some reason, over $400 million in oil went uncollected by our government. Just to put that in perspective, the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina was estimated at $81 billion and the total economic impact on Louisiana and Mississippi may well exceed $150 million.
So, the question is, how many of those countries will help us again and how much of a difference will that make?
I think it’s safe to say that pretty much all those counties will extend a hand to the United States, trying to help as they can. But even if we were to take what they offered for Hurricane Katrina and multiply it by 10, it would be nothing more than a drop in the bucket.
Related: The Safe Zones After an EMP
Help Would Not Reach Everyone
About 15 percent of the food our country consumes every year is imported. But this figure is outdone by food exports. So the shortage of food here in the US wouldn’t just affect us, but other parts of the world as well. countries which depend on US food exports would have their own problems to be concerned about, even without trying to help us.
The ability of these nations to help the United States would be further hampered by the problems we would be having, due to the grid being down. While ships might pull into our ports and harbors laden with aid, getting that aid off the ships and to the people who need it would be extremely difficult. The harbor facilities would be down, just like everything else. So the only way of unloading those ships would either be by cranes mounted on the ships or by hand.
I’m sure that there will be plenty of people who will be available to help unload those ships by hand, especially if they will be able to receive some of the benefit of their work. But really, how much help can those ships bring? It takes a huge amount of supplies to keep our country going; even to meet our most basic needs.
Considering the amount of food and other critical supplies that would need to be imported to meet our needs, as well as the ability to move that aid once it arrived at our shores, it seems clear that the only people who would benefit from it would be the people living in the coastal population center where it arrived. Considering the size of the population in those areas, it is unlikely that there would be enough to help people living farther inland.
Perhaps after things settled out a bit some of that aid would move inland. But by then, the aid from other countries would be well diminished and many people would have died off. Those who survived would probably have come to grips with the situation and be producing their own food. The biggest thing that would help most of them at that point, would be medicine and medical supplies, as the stockpiles of those would probably have been consumed.
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