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reply print email Source: Editorial: World Bank predicts a major food crisis in the coming months
What is so urgent that FEMA is spending a billion dollars on sur
February 22, 2011 | 05:33 PM

From Off the Grid News Letter

"It really is a small world ... especially in the preparedness and survival industries. With a community that prides itself on staying informed, you can't really keep things secret for long. So it's no surprise that we were among the first to get wind of some very unsettling news. In fact, it was so disturbing that we felt it was only right to share with you what we've learned.

One of the nation's largest suppliers of dehydrated food has cut loose 99% of their dealers and distributors. And it's not because of the poor economy. It's because this particular industry leader can no longer supply their regular distribution channels. Why not? Because they're using every bit of manufacturing capacity they have to fulfill massive new government contracts. Look, the government has always been a customer of the industry to some extent. But according to our sources, this latest development doesn't represent simply a change of vendor on the government's part. It's a whole new magnitude of business.

And that's not all.

Apparently, even though they've cut off their regular consumer markets, the industry leader I've just mentioned still can't produce enough survival food to meet the government's vast requirements. How do we know? Earlier this month, FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) put out a Request for Proposal, or RFP, for even more dehydrated food. The RFP called for a 10-day supply of meals - for 14 million people. That's 420 million meals. Typically, FEMA maintains a stockpile of about 6 million meals. Why the sudden need to increase the stockpile by 420 million more? (And that's in addition to whatever our aforementioned industry leader is supplying.) It almost seems like they're trying to stock a modern day "Noah's Ark," doesn't it?

By the way, just days after the RFP went online, it suddenly went "poof" ... vanished. Could it be that some high level official suddenly realized he was letting the cat out of the bag? That people aren't stupid, and would recognize the implications of 420 million emergency meals? Has the government removed the RFP from the public process and approached potential suppliers privately instead? We may never know.

But here's what we do know. This kind of spending by a minor government agency in this economy just doesn't make sense ... unless there are extraordinary circumstances behind it, circumstances we aren't privy to. Because Congress has failed to pass a budget, the government is now operating under what's called a continuing resolution. The practical effect of this continuing resolution is that the government stays in business, but all extras are curtailed. Agencies spend far less on travel and training expenses, for instance. And they certainly don't start stockpiling supplies.

In this economic climate, you would expect FEMA also to be minimizing expenses. But clearly, they're not. If you do the math, the approximate tab for 420 million meals comes to about a billion dollars.

What is so urgent that FEMA is spending a billion dollars on survival food?

Could officials be worried about extensive power grid damage from solar flares? (A big one hit last week and took out communications in China.) Are they worried about riots and demonstrations causing gridlock in communities? (The demonstrations in Wisconsin and Ohio have been peaceful so far ... but look what happened in Egypt.) Are they worried about terrorist attacks? (Some reports say that there's been more "chatter" lately on terrorist communication networks.)
But here's the most important question. No matter what it is - are you ready for it?

Are the cans of soup and the extra jar of peanut butter in your pantry going to be enough? How long will it last you? Because let's face it, in a true emergency, forget about finding what you need at the store. You know what it's like when there's even a moderate snowstorm in the forecast - no bottled water, no toilet paper, no bread to be found anywhere. The shelves are stripped bare in hours. Most people simply don't realize how fragile the food distribution system is in this country. In order to squeeze out every penny of profits, most stores now use just-in-time inventory systems, which leave no margin for error. Any kind of natural or manmade catastrophe would cut supply lines to the stores and leave millions of people with no way of getting food. And it could be anything. Power outages. Riots. A terrorist attack. Flooding. Blizzards. Hurricanes.

If you've never gotten around to buying an emergency food supply,
now is the time."


Frances
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