6 Critical Items That Have Disappeared in the Immediate Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey

by Tess Pennington, Ready Nutrition:

Before something like Hurricane Harvey, who would’ve imagined the kind of destruction that would literally immobilize a major U.S. metropolitan area for what could potentially be weeks if not months? As of this writing, we’re 72 hours into the aftermath of this major disaster and supplies are already running low.

Amid the images of loss and destruction, hurricane survivors know they must restock provisions to prepare for another week or more of sheltering in place. Now, imagine 6.2 million people trying to stock up at the same time. Panic buying is gripping the affected area and beginning to overload local and regional communities. Ahead of the hurricane making landfall the vast majority of people simply figured that the aftermath would, at most, last a few days. No one ever contemplated that real possibility that this scenario would be the end result or believed they would have to evacuate after the storm hit.

In fact, many have evacuated the city and moved to other Texas towns and now those areas are beginning to exhaust supplies as well. In any disaster, when the needs of the people are strained, frustration can quickly descend into a breakdown. While this is something no one wants to see happen, with a disaster such as this one, it is very easy to see how it can overwhelm government emergency response plans.

In an article explaining the breakdowns that occur after disasters, it was written, “When the needs of the population cannot be met in an allotted time frame, a phenomenon occurs and the mindset shifts in people. They begin to act without thinking and respond to changes in their environment in an emotionally based manner, thus leading to chaos, instability and a breakdown in our social paradigm.”

This is what is to be expected when so many people are hit with a rapid, far from equilibrium event. Keeping up with the desperate and immediate demands of hundreds of thousands of people will undoubtedly be a challenge in and of itself and supply trucks can only do so much, especially with flood water still standing on highway systems. Those living in this aftermath have a long road ahead of them, and knowing which items disappear off the shelves first can help them better prepare and stay on top of their personal supplies.

Just 72 hours after this disaster, here are the five supplies that have become difficult or impossible to find.

Gasoline

Concerns over closed refineries and disrupted pipelines erupted into a full-blown panic run on gasoline across Texas cities. Here’s the crazy thing, the shortages are not just happening in the greater Houston area, but two hundred miles north in Dallas, as well as in the cities of Austin and San Antonio, TX. This panic for gas is so insane that we are seeing gas lines that have been likened to the 1970’s.

While state officials are saying, “there is no need to worry,” things are getting real in Texas and whether they want to admit, the situation is beginning to get heated. So much so that reports of fist fights for fuel are popping up.

Water

Clean drinking water, the main staple in any disaster supply, is quickly being purchased faster than they can restock it. If hurricane victims do not have a high-quality water filter, they have to take their chances finding a store that has been restocked. In the flood ravaged areas, critical infrastructure has been damaged making it difficult for trucks to resupply the affected area, thus adding to the panic buying. Desperate residents do not know when this disaster area will normalize, so they want to grab supplies when they can to ensure their family has what they need.

In the city of Beaumont, things have become dire since the city shut off the municipal water supply, leaving 100,000 people with no other option but to hunt for water in surrounding areas. As well, the local hospital had to close its doors out of fear of water contamination, one of many immediate post-disaster threats we discussed in a previous article.

CNN reports that city officials plan to establish a water distribution point on Friday.

Meanwhile, earlier Thursday, residents lined up at stores hours before they opened in hopes of getting whatever bottled water they could find.

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