Refugee Survival Guide

Regardless of how much food you’ve stored or how big your garden is, there’s always the possibility that you’ll have to leave your shelter and venture off into (or out of) the city. The city environment may become violent, hostile and dangerous areas and so how you get around is of utmost importance. This article will cover everything you’ll need to know when it comes to an evacuation and being a refugee.

How to Survive as a Refugee

Many of us have bug out (and bug in) plans. These plans will work in most scenarios but there is always the chance it won’t. Your survival retreat and city could be destroyed… what then? If you’ve prepared you’d have hidden caches of supplies spread out over a large area to counter such an event… most of won’t go that far.

Historically people have been forced to evacuate their cities and homes for many reasons. The residents of hurricane Katrina were forced by gun point to leave their homes and evacuate and those who were smart and prepared had all their goods taken away by the military. Stockpiling is sometimes against the law! Depending on the circumstances… you may have no other choice but to comply and leave your life behind. You and your family will have become refugees.

The evacuations of hurricane Katrina were done on a massive scale never before attempted. Depending upon the disaster circumstances, every evacuation will be done differently and therefore some of the information here might not be applicable to your situation.

Lost in Unknown Territory

Do not underestimate the trauma that comes with leaving your home and being separated from friends, family and the people you know. When the disaster strikes your body and mind will go into survival mode and you won’t be able to make proper decisions. You’ll be vulnerable, broken down and tempted to accept any help that comes your way. Get your wits together and rest. Sometimes the best thing to do in a survival situation is to sleep. Go through the S.U.R.V.I.V.A.L. steps, analyze the situation, make a decision and then act on it. Only you can decide what’s best.

Avoid Being a Refugee

The number one most important action to take is simply not to become a refugee. Do not give up and submit yourself to the “safety” of FEMA or the government. You’ll be giving up your freedom and resources. If the disaster really does call for an evacuation, evacuate but avoid the governmental agencies, at least until you’ve thought out any alternatives and are fully aware of the situation and assistance offered. From the moment of evacuation forward it is critical for your family and friends to stay together. Under no circumstances should you leave anyone alone and pairs should be the absolute minimum for safety. Many people will take advantage of the chaos and your safety will be in numbers.

If you’ve been forcibly evacuated and taken to a public shelter, immediately find a way out, contact your family and friends and get the hell out! You’d be better off in a new unfamiliar city then being stuck in a dreadful depressing shelter. In a shelter, there is no privacy; the lights are kept on 24/7 for safety reasons (meaning you won’t sleep due to all the noise and lights). You’ll be surrounded by weak, unprepared people experiencing shock and trauma. You’ll be told when to eat, what to eat. Due to a lack of facilities you’ll be told when and where you go to the bathroom. The government will feed you bullshit news; they’ll be in control of what you hear and how you hear it. The only way they can run a safe shelter is by controlling the people to suit their capabilities. There are plenty of good people out there willing to give you shelter (if you ask nicely).

Learning from Hurricane Katrina

Essentially everyone rescued from the flooding had the same story. They were taken by boat to higher ground where they were then told to wait for ground transportation. They were often left with no food or water. Some people were dropped off at a railroad track where they were told to keep walking in a direction until they reach a check point.

  • Bring a small bug out bag containing at the very least water, clothing, documents, money, good walking shoes and socks.

Once ground transportation arrived, People were grouped for transport. The authorities would usually want to move the sick and old out first, while other times they went by family. How they grouped the refugees would depend upon how many people had to be moved and whatever was most convenient to the authorities. If someone is old or ill and needs to be separated from the group, an adult should always accompany them. In regards to children don’t ever separate yourself from them for any reason.

  • Make sure everyone stays together.

Usually before transportation, armed troops and security personnel will do a full search of everyone for weapons and other undesirables. If you’re found to have a weapon the authorities will usually just confiscate it, and you won’t be penalized. If the authorities suspect you to be a “bad” person they’ll take no chances and remove you from the pack. Not only will the authorities check your body, they’ll also go through and check your baggage. If you’re evacuating with a large amount of items you’ll most likely be forced to discard some items for the purpose of making more room on the transport. Pets are usually not permitted and you’ll be forced to abandon them on the spot before transport. Seeing Eye dogs are of course the exception and depending on the authorities in your area you might be able to bring a pet with you but its highly unlikely.

  • Unless you plan on evacuating on your own means, cache and hide weapons and contraband before evacuating. Wear appropriate clothing and don’t stand out.
  • Only take what you need and pack items that don’t take up too much space.
  • Unless you plan on evacuating yourself you’ll unfortunately have to leave your pet behind.

The transport vehicles usually had water and other items on board. Even if you are not thirsty and you’re perfectly fine always ask for water bottles, a blanket and food. You may or may not get what you want but it’s definitely the best time to ask and you can’t argue with free goodies.

  • If you’re already on the transport kick yourself in the butt for not escaping the disaster beforehand.

Some people were bused to the airport where they were put on an aircraft and evacuated to different cities. People on the plane did not know where they were heading until they disembarked from the aircraft. More often then not though, people were bused 7-9 hours non stop to the nearest big city.

When the refugees arrived they were processed. Their name, address, SS#, age, and etc. were either filled out on a form or entered into a computer. If the refugees had no ID they were let into the shelter but they were segregated from the others until they’re IDs could be confirmed. The refugees were given ID wrist bands similar to the ones that you’re issued in hospitals or prisons. Take good care of this wrist band as you’ll be screwed without it. Once in the shelter the refugees were provided with a small bag containing essentials and sanitary items like shampoo, a toothbrush with toothpaste, some soap and other accoutrements. This small bag was usually provided by the Red Cross or from the local aid groups. The shelters had abundance of clothing donated and free clothing was almost always up for grabs. With every group that came into the shelter a presentation was given on the rules and regulations to be followed within the shelter.

Most shelters will have a strict curfew and will lock their doors at night. The doors are usually kept open from 7am to 10pm.  Anyone outside after the doors have shut will be locked out and refugees on the inside won’t be going anywhere.

Various aid groups including FEMA, Red Cross, and the Salvation Army would be set up at the shelter to provide people with counseling, assistance and dealing with special needs. The most common assistance provided was communication with friends and family on the outside and supplying prescription drugs for people with medical conditions.

  • I suggest faking an illness to collect free medicine. The most valuable prescription drugs during a disaster are pain killers, anti depressants and tranquilizers so mentioning you have a mental illness and suffer from depression will get you the best goodies. You can barter these drugs for valuables on the side.

Each refugee was allocated a small space to sleep and live. Families were naturally bedded together and everyone was close together. There was no privacy and everyone was miserable, depressed and traumatized. The safest location in a shelter is in the middle and away from the corners. You won’t have much privacy but hanging bed sheets around spot will do the trick. Keep in mind that being in shelter doesn’t mean you’re safe. Stealing will be rampant so you should always have someone stay and keep guard over your possessions. Also keep in mind that just because there are a lot of people around don’t think your children will be safe, never leave them alone and unsupervised. Some refugees from Katrina have gone as far to describe the shelters with such words as “Dantes’ Inferno.

  • Once in the shelter you’re first priority is to establish communication with any outside friends and family and find shelter with them.Public shelters suck and they are not conducive to good mental health after a disaster. Make sure you have basic ID, credit cards and cash.