Y2K Life in the Cities

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OK everybody. I've heard tons about the wisdom of getting out of the cities. But that is not helping those of us unable to leave the cities. There are many of us who cannot afford to leave or who have responsibilities in the cities. (For instance, my spouse is a minister of a church here and will not abandon the congregation.) What are city folks doing to prepare themselves who for whatever reason cannot leave? What things might be unique to our preparations as city dwellers? Any suggestions?

-- Libby Alexander (libbyalex@aol.com), January 21, 1999


Here is the problem Libby. If Y2K damage remains below a certain threshold, most city people will make it.

But we don't know where that threshold is: it will vary somewhat by city. That's the least of it, though: if Y2K get exponentially worse within a brief period of time (which could be measured in hours for a city, given power failure or lack of water-food), you could find yourself trapped.

There are two elements you must consider:

1. How bad do you honestly believe Y2K is going to get? If you believe it might threaten your life or the life of those you love, then there can be no such thing as "we can't move out of the city." You must move out of the city, not because it guarantees the probability of safety, but because it increases the chances.

(*DISCLAIMER FOR CHRISTIANS: This is different than staying to fulfill a divine calling as seems to be the case for your family, but few Christians actually know themselves to have a SPECIFIC calling from Almighty God to remain in a city.*)

2. If you are alarmed about Y2K but do not believe that remaining in a city will directly threaten your life, just, in the end your comfort, best of luck (seriously).

An alternative to 1 that is risky but less risky than 2 is to identify relatives or friends who live in a safe location and are GI about Y2K. Prepare with them and PLAN to be at that location from December 15, 1999 thru January 15, 2000, MINIMALLY, no matter what it means for employment or other obligations. If you won't plan that, then you really fall into category 2. above.

Also, as a fellow-believer who travels preaching the gospel as invited, I exhort your husband to exhort his congregation that every one of them who can leave the city plan to do so (see DISCLAIMER above) or plan for an alternate location as I just described.

Remember: it is just as biblical to "flee from city to city" or, in this case, from city to country, as to stay. Of course, no one KNOWS that rural is better than urban with respect to Y2K. But you would be wise to heed the hard-fought wisdom of folks on this NG based on serious research into the entire Y2K disaster: GET OUT OF THE CITIES NOW.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), January 21, 1999.


Look at some old news footage from Beirut. Or some newer footage from, say, Sarajevo. Or maybe a couple of the recently besieged African cities.

There are your worst-case scenarios. But people still lived there. They somehow got by. Unless they got shot or hacked to death or blown up or crushed by rubble. Or died of mishap or disease or starvation, or just gave up and died because they couldn't take it any more.

Your priorities will change a lot if 2k is bad. Be prepared to be sleepless, tired, confused, frustrated, terrified, thirsty, hungry, dirty, cold, wet, miserable, sick and surrounded by thousands just like you. Be prepared to walk wherever you go, if you're willing to risk going outside. You'll likely have to haul water. Got a good water container? Sturdy enough to drop when full and not burst, big enough to make the trip worthwhile but not so big you can't carry it? Where will you go for water? How far away? Up/down how many flights of stairs? I suggest you lug five gallons or so for a block or three just for practice. Think about how to save water, using it sparingly.

Then do the same process for food, light, heat, sanitation, security. Think through what you'd do if nothing worked that you count on every day. NOTHING. Not at all- no fire department or EMS(do you live in a human-warren apartment building that will be set on fire by a careless candle?) No cops (any neighbors been giving you appraising looks lately?) No sewer (How will you handle that part?) And so on.

Not to say that it will be that bad, or that it will be that bad where you live. I don't know. You could live in an urban utopia. You might be more than five miles from a 7-11. 2k might be a bump in the road.

But if you're smart you'll figure it won't be. And prepare accordingly. Good luck. As far as I'm concerned that's something we will all need.

-- nemo... (nemo@deepsix.com), January 21, 1999.

Hi Libby,

You might try checking out the site y2kaos.com which is written by a minister in LA. He has an article dealing with his recommendations for those who stay in the city. He is expecting a 9 or 10 event so he will cover preparing for the worst.

The Cassandra site is geared for those who intend to remain in their communities and organize so it may be helpful as well.

People in the city have much higher security risks, much less space to store and much less ability to create gardens or other means to be self sufficient. Without sanitation or trash collection, in very little time there will be much disease, rodents and insects. Without fire departments and with people attempting to create heat in unsafe ways, there is the risk of large fires burning out of control. If there is no electricity or water, fire fighters are helpless. If there is no communications, police and fire fighters are crippled.

Even with utilities, if welfare and social security checks fail to come beginning in October, then rioting and looting may easily erupt in fall. If runs on the banks and business failures create a depression by fall, then cities will suffer high unemployment and shortages of supplies.

I live in a suburb myself and decided to stay with my kids so I may have to face these things as well. It really depends on whether you think that there will be power and water or not. This is the big dividing line. A depression in the city with severe shortages and crime would be highly dangerous but survivable. If you try to stock up then you will be a target unless you have a great deal of security. Hiding what you have is definitely better than having to fight for it so these things must be well planned. But no power or water for more than a couple days will be very bad in the city. Two weeks of this will be lethal for most people. In this case, I have literally decided to accept that I am standing on ground zero and will likely die with the rest of the city populations of dehydration, crime, fire, or disease. I am extremely worried about this because my assessment of the current facts of the power situation tell me that we will not be finished and that there are a million ways in which the dominos could fall resulting in no power. Realistically, I agree with North that cities are toast if this happens.

So my prep includes mental, emotional and spiritual aspects that recognize my main conclusion: only an ecologically sustainable community that is living off the grid is going to be immune to the downfall of the industrial and technical era.

I know of several such communities, but I have decided that I can't leave my children, and their father doesn't agree with me so I can do nothing to save us.

When you have responsibilities you are not willing to walk away from, you are going to be faced with this choice eventually, I believe, when it becomes apparent that the work will not get done. Many will leave, many will stay. I don't judge either way, I think everyone has the right to make a choice that suits them whether or not it would suit someone else.

Good luck in your preparations with your community,


-- Lora (LLLL@hotmail.com), January 21, 1999.

I agree pretty much with what BigDog has said. However, if your husband feel's that he has an obligation to tend the flock, then now is the time for him to lead the flock and start networking and divise a plan for the congregation to prepare for Y2K. I have no idea what your church facilities consist of. I feel that it's too late to gather the flock, delegate responsibility, and see that each member has fulfilled her/his responsibility. Then it all depends on if every memeber of the flock believes that something bad is going to happen. I can see it now, some will say your husband is wacko, and some will believe him. A private meeting with the elders should be held immediately and your husband showing them documentation that your church community is in trouble if Y2K hits a number 10. If the elders get it, he's in luck and preparation can go quickly. If he meets with obstacles then he's in trouble, and you will have to look out for you and those who want to join you. At this stage of the game I would start preparing as if your husband will be out of a job, and have a place you can bugout to immediately.

-- bardou (bardou@baloney.com), January 21, 1999.

Lora ----

Your situation is very difficult. I will pray for you. But don't you know any relatives/friends "further out" that you could be planning with for evacuation? Your husband may GI sometime this year and thank you for the foresight.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), January 21, 1999.

Hi Libby,

I think BD and Bardou have hit the nail right on the head.

if you're in the Kansas City area, email me privately as I know someone else there who is working on the same issue.


-- Arlin H. Adams (ahadams@ix.netcom.com), January 22, 1999.

Hunt up "Tom's Take" for strategies for living in the city post.....

(Arnie do you still have the link?)


-- Chuck, night driver (rienzoo@en.com), January 22, 1999.

Here you go -- Tom's Take

-- Tom Carey (tomcarey@mindspring.com), January 22, 1999.

Thanks, all, for your replies. We're on the east coast. Our house is physically connected to the church. May use church parish hall as a community shelter. We have locked gates all around the house (not that that would keep anyone out who really wanted in), bars on the windows and doors, and an alarm system (which of course will not work without electric). We also have a gathered community which is very committed to protecting the church property. We have a small group of people gathering soon to talk about what to do. We have a huge basement for supply storage. (Church also has a basement.) We even have a yard in which I have had an organic veggie garden for the last two years. We have a wood-burning fireplace and wood to burn. So that's the scoop from here. Keep preparing!

-- Libby Alexander (libbyalex@aol.com), January 22, 1999.

Thats great, Libby. But what are you going to drink?

-- dave (wootendave@hotmail.com), January 22, 1999.

Dave -- we're stocking up on 5 gal. bottles of water, plus the 2.5 gals of water you get in grocery stores, plus empty juice & soda bottles that we will fill with tap water (nearing the 100s by now), bottles of juice, packages of soymilk, etc. We're also planning on storing water in plastic garbage cans and collecting rain water. We have a water purifying kit, plus iodine tablets. Best we can do so far.

Anybody else out there staying in a city?

-- Libby Alexander (libbyalex@aol.com), January 22, 1999.

YES Libby, most of us are staying in the cities. Who is going to care for the old, the poor, the sick, the little children? Will it be those brave souls I see looking down and saying "feet do your stuff". It looks like most of the studs are going to be peeking out of the barn or outhouse on New Years eve. I'm going to contact FEMA to help continue my education on emergency preparation. I just could not look at myself in the mirror if I started running for the hills like a stripped ass ape. Just remember that if a foo bird deficates on you do not brush it off or you will die....If the foo sh.ts wear it!!

-- somewhereinthecity (xxx@thehood.com), January 22, 1999.

somewhereinthecity: LOL! YEs, you are right! There are important reasons to stay. If community means anything to me, then I too would have a hard time looking myself in the mirror if I abandoned those in need. Working with community will be the only way to survive in the cities. get to know your neighbors!

-- Libby Alexander (libbyalex@aol.com), January 23, 1999.

Libby and somewhereinthecity,

I'm staying in the city, but only because I don't have the money to get out. Just out of curiousity, do you have living parents or spouses? I'm concerned about "the poor, the sick and the little children" too, but I'm even more concerned my parents. If I had the money, I would relocate out of the city and have them move in with me.

I'm sure they'll end up living with me, or me with them in 2000 and in the city. But I'd feel a lot better about their safety if they didn't live three miles from downtown in a city with a metro population of a million people.

-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), January 23, 1999.

I've had my serious two-cents in this thread and others about being in cities: GET OUT! GET OUT! I don't apologize for it .... b .. u .. t the original question did ask how folks were actually preparing IN the cities. This is a vital question since, um, fact is 170 million Americans will be in them 1/1/2000.

If I were fool enough to stay in a city, I'd be thinking:

1. Water, water, water, water, water (well, you get the idea). 2. Security (but how on earth ... ?) 3. Water. 4. Security 5. Did I say water and security?

I would also try to store long-term food, if there were room. Hard to grow things for most urbanites. But that brings us back to 2. and 4., no?

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), January 23, 1999.

Kevin -- my elderly parents live several states north in a town of 14,000. My sister and her family live several blocks from them and another sister lives an hour away from them. My Dad refuses to GI, though my Mom is beginning to take things seriously. My in-town sister is preparing. So I feel relatively good about them. My partner's parents live 2 states south surrounded by extended family. So, none of these folks will be in the city with us. And we'll stay because we're committed to do so.

Big Dog -- working on water and security. You're right. They're key to survival.

Keep preparing.

-- Libby Alexander (libbyalex@aol.com), January 23, 1999.

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