Crisis management

The meeting this week was about urban survival, or less dramatically put; crisis management. Almost 6 years ago, just after the Tsunami hit Thailand and a relatively large number of Swedes had to struggle for survival in Thailand, a violent storm hit the south of Sweden with unbelievable devastation as a result. Boats and piers were smashed to smithereens, roofs and sheds were lifted off the ground, and in some places electricity was gone for a week or more. Eight people perished in the storm, several farmers went bankrupt in the aftermath, some tragically committed suicide. The material damage has more or less been restored, and most of the forests replanted. Six years later the saw mills have finally managed to take care of most of the fallen logs.
Even the urban areas were hit hard, with black-outs and blocked roads. The scouts, now between 15 and 19, remembered the event very well; one of them told us how they huddled together in candle light in one room to keep warm, and how everything in the freezer had gone off, another how his cousins for two weeks after the storm had come to visit to use the shower and wash their clothes as their power hadn't been restored.
So we talked about how to prepare for a similar event, and the scouts are now going to evaluate how well prepared their households are for a new crisis, using the official guidelines.
Water is a big issue in a situation like this, and the scouts were asked to prioritize the usage of the minimum amount of water per day, estimated to 5 liters a day per person. A huge, and sometimes heated discussion led to that 2,5 liters were saved for cooking and drinking water as "it's better to be well and in your right mind so be able to make good decisions than to have clean underwear", 1 liter for personal hygiene, 1 liter for washing up and half a liter for washing clothes. Thinking about that too many people in the world have only this amount of water, or less, for survival, and not only clean water, also led us to talk about how to save water in our everyday life (An average Swedish household use between 400-500 liters of drinking water per day, 184 liters per person per day in 2008! where of 45 liters of hot water!)
It is usually easier to recruit Cubs than Challengers, but perhaps it is only because we don't do enough recruiting... this term we've had two new recruits! One of them is completely new to scouting, one has been a scout in her old homeland and, I hope, will bring new perspectives to our group. Now we have to rise to the challenge of making them feel included, welcome and keep the meetings interesting enough for them to want to stay on!

1 comment:

Nick Wood said...

This is an interesting situation for your Scouts to think about.
To be honest, the worst we normally get is the electricity being cut off for a few hours when something goes wrong.But that does start to make you think about how you would survive.
As you say, we can get by without most of the utilities, but not water.
I guess we are very lucky to live in countries where we don't normally have to worry about such things.