In a post-disaster situation, the prepared will always come in contact with those who are not prepared. Perhaps they will be friends and family who turn to you in a time of need. Maybe they will be neighbors who do not know what to do, but see that you are in a better position and ask you for help. Possibly they will be refugees who have left their homes and are passing through your area on a path towards what they hope will be a better life. Or maybe they will be a gang that preys on others in a Mad Max or Postman type of scenario.
All of them will want something from you. At a minimum, they may want a meal and a drink of clean water. At the other extreme, they may wish to possess all that you have. Some will want to cast their lot in with you, while others will want you to support them out of the kindness of your heart. Remember, too many in our society do nothing, yet feel they are owed a living. Just because society has collapsed does not mean that the attitude of these people will change.
In a short term or regional disaster, you can help others, but be prepared for some of latch on to you like leaches that must be pried free and cast off. In a long-term world-changing disaster, Captain Dave’s cold hearted advice is to send refugees on their way with a little aid and a larger threat — preferably before they see the extent of your preparations — and send marauders to their graves. If you feed one group of refugees, they might not leave. Or if they do, word will spread and the path to your door will grow crowded. So avoid this mistake and send them on their way with due haste and a firm hand. Likewise, if marauders, thieves and gangs sense weakness, they will turn on you, but if they sense strength and see strong defenses, they will likely look for easier targets. Romans posted heads on stakes and criminals on crosses as a warning. Your survival group may need to resort to the same tactics if the press of undesirables grows too threatening. These may be distasteful, but it is preferable to being dead.
You should also build up defenses, post a watch and patrol your defensive perimeter.
Regardless of how you decide to proceed, you need to develop a firm policy regarding what you say and what you do when approached by a stranger and everyone in your survival group needs to know it. (And they must know the punishment if they do not obey.) Under what conditions will you help a family member, friend or neighbor? What, if anything, will you demand from them in return? Under what conditions will you feed refugees or parley with gangs? What will you do when the refugees have starving children with haunted eyes? The difficulty will come in telling the difference between a bedraggled family walking by to one that looks the same but is actually scouting for a larger party that wishes to raid your home and steal your supplies.
There is also the threat of disease. In a post TEOTWAWKI situation in which utilities have been out, expect cities to become breeding grounds for new and old diseases. If you invite in refugees, you invite it the lice, fleas and other disease vectors they carry.
It is important to keep in mint that you have invested time and money to be prepared to ensure your family’s survival, not the survival of everyone who passes by. You need to husband your resources, not give them away. No matter how Christian your heart may be, you must be prepared to protect yourself and your family at the expense of strangers. Like the grasshopper, they had their chance to prepare like the ants, but chose not to. Their choices – not your – are what seals their fate.
James Wesley, Rawles, author and owner of SurvivalBlog recommends directing refugees to a local church and then “giving until it hurts” anonymously to the same church. This is an excellent idea that allows you to be charitable, yet protects you from exposing the full extent of your preparations while insulating your from diseases and other dangers that refugees may bring with them.
The sad truth is that in a post-TEOTWAWKI situation, hundreds of millions of people will die in the United States and billions will die globally in the first year following a disaster. The elderly, infirm, ill and very young will die first when the medical care ceases. Then there will be those that are killed in inevitable civil unrest and violence. Some will commit suicide rather than face the new world. Not long after, poor hygiene and a lack of sewage facilities and clean water will cause illness and disease that will run rampant through the cities and other densely populated areas. This will be followed by starvation as food runs out and re-supply is unable to reach the cities. Winter will bring more starvation as well as people who succumb to the cold. Spring will see the population of the world reduced by as much as 50 percent, except in tropical regions or countries where the populace is use to living in third-world conditions. In the following years, infant morality will climb, the average lifespan will drop, and more mothers will die in childbirth. TEOTWAWKI will set us back a hundred years or more in health care and mortality as well as in farming and transportation.
Nothing you can do will save all these people. Your survival stores cannot save millions, but they can save those people who matter most to you. So invite in those who you care most about, team up with those who will strengthen your group, and form alliances with neighbors and others in the area that are in similar positions. But do not waste your resources on people of unknown value, who failed to heed the warnings and to prepare. Your responsibility is for you and yours, not everyone else.