Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Book Review: The Jakarta Pandemic

This is another book in the disaster/post-apocalyptic genre that has valuable information on preparing for a disaster.  The author provides some good food for thought on things to store up at home in case disaster strikes along with some other “advice”.

As can be gleaned from the title, this book focuses on the effects of a serious pandemic.  The setting is a smaller community not too far from a large metropolitan area.  After a pandemic with a high mortality rate strikes, vital services (trash collection, utilities, food delivery, schools, emergency responses) are shut down.  The hospitals are filled up and very ill people are just sent home to die when there is no room or medication for them.  No one will go out and about risking infection.  

The main character has sufficient preps to lead his family through the crisis.  One of the conflict points arises when his neighbors do not have any supplies (food, medicine) stored up and realize he does.  Does our main character share and risk running out himself, or does he fend off his neighbors and friends to save his family?  Perhaps there is a semi happy point between.

A couple other clashes arise when people begin to flee the population centers: 
-The “refugees” beg for assistance that no one can afford give when such actions would lead to exposing one’s family to infection and to a rush of charity seekers when word gets out. 
-Many area homes are vacant as neighbors have died or fled to other locations.  What is to be done when strangers of unknown intent start occupying the deserted houses?  

The book has some good ideas for items to stock as well as equipment to obtain.  In addition, it is filled with moral dilemmas the protagonist faces that we all will also face if a similar situation presents itself.  It seems best to think these possibilities through before we face them in a stressful time and may make rash decisions.  

The story line is good, and much more localized than the Deep Winter series.  In the beginning it seems like the author is trying to sell “Tamiflu”, but he does move away from it as the story develops.  It’s worth the time to read and apply the scenarios to your own situation.

So… now WWYD:
In addition to food, do you have medication stored up?  What about a way to heat your house if utilities are shut down in winter?  If you have a fireplace or wood stove, do you have a way to circulate the warm air?  Will you have to face city folk fleeing TO your area if they are deserting the urban zone?  Do you know your neighbors well enough to guess if they will be a help or a hindrance in an emergency?

The book homepage: http://jakartapandemic.com/
The author's blog: http://stevenkonkoly.com/

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