How do I prepare for a plague? That question has been on a lot of peoples minds over the past few years. With the recent release of the swine flu, and the past talk of the bird flu people seem to be getting a little more serious about plague survival.
Because there is more and more discussion on the topic, I thought its about time to share with everyone what I am doing to prepare for a plague.
Knowledge – the first thing to do is understand the effects that plagues have a society. And this is done by reading history books, and several of them. Through past examples we can learn the mistakes of our forefathers. What worked, what didn’t and what caused tens of thousands of people to die in a matter of months.
|One of the books that has been added to my library is The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death by John Kelly. This book gives a true and histrionically accurate of the Black Death written by the people that saw it first hand. Some of the accounts, such as entire towns and communities dying off are almost unbelievable. Its reads more like a science fiction book then a real life – first person account – of what happened during the plagues that killed millions.
Overall this was an enjoyable book. In some parts of the book, I would have never thought that humanity would have sank so low. But when multiple accounts were recorded of thousands of people dying every day, stories of graveyards filling up, stories of thousands of people starving to death, what can you really say about it?
We can say that we will learn by their examples and not repeat the same mistakes.
The next book is The Black Death: A Chronicle of the Plague by Johannes Nohl and C. H. Clarke. This is an “ok” read at best. The way that the authors jumps about in non-chronoligical order makes the book an unpleasant read. In one paragraph the discussion might be about London and the plague of 1666, and the next paragraph about Germany and the plague of 1348. Because of the way the book is written, I can not recommend it.
The third book, and the one I am currently reading is Return of the Black Death: The World’s Greatest Serial Killer by Susan Scott and Christopher Duncan. Lets just say this is “interesting read” with lots of small details included. Where some books may have skipped over important details, such as there were no black rats in certain parts of Europe, so how did the plague get transmitted? Most scientist and historians say that the Bubonic Plague is transmitted through fleas and the disease is carried by the black rat. Well, what about the cases where there are no rats being documented in Europe at that time?
One thing that I really like about this book is how well the authors cite their sources. Exact details such as the persons name, date, location, name of the city or town and where this information can be found at is included all through the book. This adds a layer of credibility to the authors and the book.
Its not enough to understand how a disease spread, we need to take a look back in time and see what those that came before us did. How do you “really” prepare fo events like this?
1259 – A great pestilence broke out in England, whereof many thousands died, which it was thought wa» occasioned by the famine of the proceeding year, which was so destructive, that many were forced to feed upon horse-flesh, bark of trees, &c., and provision were so scarce that 29,000 people were said to be starved to death for want, in London.
1348 – An untold number of people died in Europe. Some estimates puts the total at around 1/3 of the entire population died.
1391 – In July, this year, the sun appeared red through certain dusky clouds, and gave but little light from noon till sun-set. This continued much in the same manner for six weeks following, and at the same time there was a great mortality in Norfolk, occasioned by the plague, and in many other parts, insomuch that it resembled the great pestilence; and in the city of York, it was very fatal, 11,000 persons died.
1407 – In the summer time, the air was so corrupted, and so great a plague ensued, that the same had not been seen for many years; in London it soon destroyed 30,000 persons, and the mortality was so great in country villages among farmers and husbandmen, that many entire families died of it, and the houses were left desolate.
1500 -There was another great pestilence, which carried off abundance of men in many places, especially in and about London, where it was computed, that there died of this disease about 30,000 people.
Those numbers are from An historical account of the plague by R. Burdekin in 1832 (Original from Oxford University).
After reading a few books on the plague, its clear that the governments around the world are not prepared to deal with an outbreak.
Example – during the swine flu scare during May, 2009, the president of the United States – President Obama refused to close the borders. Everyday tens of thousands of people walked from Mexico into Texas and California and were flying all across the world.
If the swine flu would have turned out to be a serious condition, the governments did nothing to stop its spread. The leaders were more worried about the financial impact then peoples lives.
Its left to every person and every family to prepare themselves for the Second Great Mortality.