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Friday, March 17, 2006

HN51 the new boo

With the 2006 hurricane season just a couple of months away and Texas afire, floods and earthquakes and pestilence, oh my...pestilence! The government, just this week, as much as confirmed the arrival in the U.S. of the much touted virus HN51, the "bird flu."

Worldwide, 128 deaths in 16 countries - including Iraq, where thousands of American troops will soon be returning from extended tours of duty; signs are that two thousand and six may be yet another cruel summer. Now, scientists reveal that HN51 may well be arriving by that most capricious of vectors, the natural flight paths of migratory water foul. Wild birds from Asia mix with eastern European foul and Western hemisphere birds and share a common, intersecting flight nexus over the Alaskan straits. From that casual bottleneck may come the introduction of a new, more lethal strain of HN51 to the Americas.

With that in mind, we resurrected Greener Mag's survival list, post Katrina, and added a few common sense precautionary additions for Americans determined to survive the coming storm.

  • Food - recommended: Three months supply for each person/pet. Canned goods, dried staples, freeze dried or dehydrated vegetables and cured, dry meats are best suited to periods of extended storage, avoid all fresh meat for the interim. Keep items in a cool, not cold, and dry location. Your own kitchen garden will be the best source of fresh vegetables.
  • Water - recommended: a functioning still to boil and re-condense available water, 1 gal per person per day. Bottled water is not safe after 30 days in storage, bacteria can develop.
  • Sanitation - Usual items and quantities required over a 3 month period. Add rubbing alcohol, tincture of iodine, bleach (remember to dispose safely) and salt. The salt will make a decent source or chlorine to purify water through a filter such as a coffee maker or evaporation still.
  • Health - Much the same list as above with the addition of a 90 day supply of prescription meds, first aid supplies and analgesics.
  • Energy - Rechargeble batteries, full tank of gasoline in automobiles, candles, topped-off propane/fuel oil tanks (OK, 'cause at least you'll stick 'em when they raise the prices during the disaster), solar panel collectors, generator (including a wind mill if you have one), charcoal and or seasoned fire wood. Be prepared to be off the grid for 90 days or better.

Finally, consider that this is only a drill and that the likelihood of any real catastrophic incident occurring this particular summer is no greater than in any other year in recent history...Sorry, have to run to the store, forgot the plastic wrap and duck tape.

by Harlan Weikle
Greener Magazine

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