The Disaster in Haiti – If You Lived There When This Happened Would You have Had a BOB Ready to go?
If you have not read URBAN SURVIVAL: Do You Really Need a Bug Out Bag? Part – 1 please read that article first. In this series of articles (Part 1, 2, 3 and 4) I will go over several different scenarios (natural and man made) and determine the need for a BOB. I will also list (well, suggest) things that you should include in your BOB in separate articles.
In Part 1 of ‘Do You Really Need a Bug Out Bag?’ I challenged the widely held belief that you need a BOB (bug out bag). After going over the most common reasons; hurricanes and tornadoes, flooding, earthquakes, civil unrest, pandemic, terrorism, nuclear attack and even zombie attack – I could not find one instance in the western world where you would run out your front door full blast only grabbing a bag.
All right, that was easy – so you don’t need a BOB right? You can go out and spend you BOB budget on beer and ammo instead of Swedish fire-starters and space blankets?
Not exactly, there are several situations that you may find yourself in where it is not only suggested that you have a BOB, it would be foolish not to have one. Location and occupation are the main determining factors deciding the need for a BOB.
So, who needs a BOB?
One of the major groups of people that should have a BOB packed and ready to go at a moments notice are Expats (people who live in a country other than their own) Living in a 3rd World Country.
Hundreds of thousands of people from modern 1st world countries work and live in the 3rd world. Some are posted there by an employer and some just choose to live overseas for a verity of reasons. But one of the problems with this group is they have the mindset that they are still living in the West.
In the 1st world a riot in a city or some light flooding really isn’t a big deal. Events like those would be lucky to get a 20 second sound bite in-between Britney Spears updates and sports scores.
But in the 3rd world the above could cause civil war or a major pandemic.
Here are some examples of what happens during natural and man made disasters in the 3rd world compared to the same thing happening in the 1st world and why you would need an Expat BOB:
1st World: Back home if a bit of civil unrest breaks out the worst that will happen is a some looting and property damage before the cops break it up.
3rd World: In the 3rd world civil unrest can mean going from a fairly moderate democratic country to a brutal dictatorship overnight. Or just having a mob of rioters bust down your front door wile the local cops sit a half a block away getting drunk in their squad car.
Expat BOB Time: If people start tearing down statues of the local ‘democratically’ elected president and burning bibles then you better get out of the major cities ASAP and hide out in a village until things calm down.
1st World: When a natural disaster happens back home the police, emergency services and National Guard swoop in with tens of millions of dollars worth of equipment and start the rescue and recovery. They will even even eventually build temporary shelters, food distribution points and mobile hospitals.
It doesn’t always happen overnight and one time the government dropped that ball, but generally speaking the above is true.
3rd World: In some parts of the 3rd world you are lucky to see an ambulance made before 1985 show up 2 hours after an earthquake has flattened an area.
And after a natural disaster don’t expect the local tin-pot government to respond with millions of dollars in food, temporary shelter and medical care (it has already been spent on mistress and 80 room mansions for the local Ray-Ban wearing president). Government assistance wont happen for you unless you are rich or part of the ruling elite.
Also with all of the bodies still in the streets and sewage that has backed up expect large scale breakouts of communicable diseases.
And a pandemic? Remember what happened in China, the government tried to keep it quiet until it was already out of control.
Expat BOB Time: If basic government services have ceased due to a major natural disaster or a pandemic breaks out it is best to just leave the country immediately before disease, crime, food and water shortages start breaking out.
1st World: If you catch your local business partner stealing from your business or you deliver 50K worth of computers to a company and they don’t pay, all you have to do is call the cops or a lawyer. Eventually you will either get your money or stock back or the offending party goes to jail.
3rd World: Your local partner steals your stock and empties your joint business accounts, then he pays a visit to his ‘cousin’ that happens to be a General in the local police and BAM! you are now a wanted drug dealer.
Sound outrageous? Not really, it happens all the time in the 3rd world. Local connected guys know they are untouchable in the eyes of the law if it is them VS a foreigner.
Expat BOB Time: Your only choice is to immediately run and get your ass out of the country to somewhere you can work things out remotely or just escape arrest.
Rule of Law:
1st World: If you are driving down the road and some car rear ends you and crashes into a ditch, the law sees it as their fault (generally). Or if some guy punches you in your face and you push him back so you can run away, you are not guilty of a crime. Basically in the 1st world if you don’t directly harm anyone for no reason and without pre-mediation then you are basically clean.
3rd World: In places like the Middle East a local can crash into your car killing all of the passengers and YOU will go to jail. Yep, because the guy that smashed into you is the 64th cousin twice removed to the Emir and that makes you guilty, period.
Do you think that you can hit one of the 3 guys that is beating you down to defend yourself? Nope, because the guys beating you down are locals (that’s it, they are locals so they are not guilty).
Expat BOB Time: If you don’t immediately run away and jump on a plane after the accident or fight, well… have fun being the only American in a Middle Eastern jail.
1st World: When a major terrorist attack occurs in the 1st world the response is immediate, the news is mostly balanced and initially stays away from ‘tinfoil-hat’ conspiracies and the government will spend billions if necessary to find and punish those responsible.
3rd World: After a major terrorist attack in the 3rd world the initial response will be fast, after that things will either progress quickly or take years to solve. Depending on the country, after an attack the city will be completely parlayed or the locals will just walk over the ruble on the way to work.
If it ends being a drawn out investigation local politicians, religious leaders and the media may start barfing up all sorts of “theories” behind the attack. Everything from “the (insert religion here) did it” to the old favorite 3rd world explanation of “the CIA is behind it”. Silly grandstanding and newspaper profiteering can lead to resentment towards anyone from the 1st world.
Expat BOB Time: This is a tough one, so far their more or less hasn’t been civil unrest or a huge backlash against western Expats living in the 3rd world after a terrorist attack. That is generally because foreigners are the ones that were targeted during the attack so most reasonable locals don’t blame Rock n Roll or Levi jeans. Or they just honestly don’t care.
In my opinion any time you are living somewhere an entire country may be on edge for several months due to a shocking event you should have a BOB in case of civil unrest or anti-western violence.
Living in the 1st world where the society is somewhat politically stable, the rule of law is enforceable on everyone and the emergency services are highly trained, heavily funded and staffed with heroic men – owning a BOB is not an absolute necessity.
But in the 3rd world where you can go to jail for murder because someone else ran into your car going 60 miles over the speed limit and bodies lay on the street weeks after a flood, then you do need a BOB so you can leave the country (or just heavily populated areas) immediately.
In the next 2 articles in this series of “Do You Really Need a Bug Out Bag?” I will go over the 2 other situations and scenarios where you do need a BOB.
So be on the lookout for:
“Do You Really Need a Bug Out Bag? Part 3”
“Do You Really Need a Bug Out Bag? Part 4”
I am also writing a companion article for this article on how to put together an Expat BOB. It will be up in a few days and is based off my experience living and working in the 3rd world.
James G is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long. He spends his off time in his homes in Indonesia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns and writing poorly written articles.