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Whether you clicked this article out of curiosity or are looking to find out whether you have hit the lottery on location, there are some things to consider. 2017 taught us a lot about the resilience of communities and the response of the government to disasters. In fact, regarding disaster response, it was probably the most telling year in modern history.

As a recap, we faced devastating hurricanes, civil unrest, a deadly flu virus, the biggest mass shooting ever, and wildfires that threatened massive chunks of California. It was a wild year! I hope you were paying attention.

Knowing where the government will show up first in a collapse scenario is of immense importance to everyone. Of course, we would all like to believe there is help on the way during any disaster. There are massive amounts of resources that will be used to assist ailing states and cities, but some states and cities are going to be a much higher priority than others.

The government has broken down 8 core principles that guide recovery in their National Disaster Recovery Framework.

  • Convene the core of an inclusive whole community planning team, identified predisaster, which will oversee the disaster recovery planning process and activities to reduce recovery risk and increase resilience.
  • Public Information and Warning. Manage expectations through clarity, accuracy, and transparency.
  • Operational Coordination. Lead, coordinate, and drive the recovery process.
  • Economic Recovery. Share, aggregate, and integrate economic impact data to assess economic issues and identify potential inhibitors to fostering stabilization of the affected communities.
  • Health and Social Services. Identify affected populations, groups, and key partners in recovery.
  • Housing. Assess preliminary housing impacts and pre- and post-disaster needs, identify available options for temporary housing, and support the local development of the plan for permanent housing.
  • Infrastructure Systems. Facilitate the restoration of and sustain essential services (public and private) to maintain community functionality.
  • Natural and Cultural Resources. Implement measures to protect and stabilize records and culturally significant documents, objects, and structures.

In researching this topic, I noticed one resource that stood out above all. It was an article written with a government and recovery motive in mind.

A Governmental Response Based on Common Sense

The list provided below was created by Fergus Mason of, and I love the reasoning behind each choice.

  1. Washington, D.C. – Government
  2. New York City – Largest US population center
  3. Los Angeles – Second largest population center
  4. Chicago – Major population center, finance, manufacturing
  5. Houston – Major population center, oil industry
  6. Dallas – Population center, oil industry
  7. Philadelphia – Population center, manufacturing, oil refining
  8. San Diego – Population center, military
  9. Phoenix – Population center, food processing
  10. San Francisco – Tech industries

It’s easy to understand why the government would respond in such a way based on population size and their ability to aid in the recovery. That said, I think we must be honest about the government’s track record when it comes to disaster response.

If this is a surprise to you, check out this list of the 5 worst government responses to natural disasters.

It’s important to realize that the government’s response to a massive collapse of our nation would probably not be the right one. No one has ever seen what happens to a country of 300 million people who are heavily armed and accustomed to all the conveniences of modern life when a disaster changes everything.

Honestly, I don’t miss a chance to knock the government but, in this instance, I think it’s just a numbers game. While having a plan and executing it makes sense for a governing body, I just don’t think any government can adequately prepare for a nationwide disaster.

Factoring in the Human Element

Recovery from a nationwide collapse scenario would really depend on the actions of the people that are being helped. I think the quicker that recovery happens, the better it will be for everyone. That said, those cities that don’t receive help in the first week or weeks will erupt into so much chaos that I don’t know if any of them can be saved. It may be like a wildfire that just has to burn itself out.

Even if we suspended Posse Comitatus to use as many resources as possible, we would come up short. We have about 2.5 million soldiers in our military. I guess you could add to that the police which are estimated at 800,000. This would put us over 3 million. Still, we would have 300 million people to watch. Most would be armed, and all would be scared.

In 2013, FEMA’s operating budget was 16 billion, and while I couldn’t find anything on recent budgets, I’m sure it’s gotta be around a 20 billion. It took nearly that much money just for the recovery of Texas and Florida from this year’s hurricanes. And most Americans didn’t feel the effect of that at all.

Donald Trump also just cut the budget of the coast guard, who would no doubt come to the people’s aid in a disaster

How Do You Control of Millions of Scared and Desperate People?

While the list of cities above is probably pretty accurate, I wonder how fast the turnaround would be from one city to the next. If resources were dispatched to the first 3 or 4 cities, how quickly would they be able to move to assist the others, or would it be a limited number of resources to each major city?

It will all come down to how the government decides to take control of millions of sacred and desperate people. When we really consider what a recovery looks like, it conjures up thoughts of despotic martial law. These are serious concerns, and I’m not sure I can blame anyone for fearing that.

Even in the very first cities to receive aid, there will be things like curfews to keep order. What the nation’s response to these rules will be is anyone’s guess. I think it’s very clear what the government’s response to a disaster will be. I think we can also agree they will be strapped for resources.

The big question is: Will the weak and unprepared people allow for recovery? What do you think?

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