by WorldTribune Staff, September 10, 2017
In a year when North Korea has made shockingly rapid nuclear weapons progress, the word “prepper” is suddenly familiar in the South Korean lexicon.
As Kim Jong-Un and U.S. President Donald Trump trade menacing threats and no one knows what they are really thinking, sophisticated and wealthy Koreans who had become bored with decades of brinksmanship in Pyongyang are waking up and smelling the coffee.
Americans have been lining up for emergency food, water and energy supplies to ride out the current wave of natural disaster, but the threat in Seoul — located an hour’s drive South of the DMZ — is of a direct nuclear bomb strike.
“The number of doomsday pessimists is rapidly growing here, as is shown from the number of relevant YouTube videos and their views,” Lee Min-Hyung wrote for Korea Times.
When typing “survival bag” in Korean on YouTube, more than 21,000 relevant videos, mostly uploaded in recent months, come up.
“Sales of combat rations, self-powered radios and gas masks surge for a few days after a North Korean provocation,” said Kim Hyun-Tak, CEO of the outdoor and prepper goods store Hangangsa.
“The three are considered basic items in the case of war,” he said. “While combat rations have steady popularity for the whole year, gas masks are rarely sold unless the North launches a missile or conducts a nuclear test.”
The Hangangsa CEO said that noodles are not regarded as the optimum emergency food for preppers. This is because they require a pot or gas to boil water, all of which may be unavailable in an emergency. Popular combat rations come with self-heating meal packages, allowing people to enjoy foods in any emergency.
Other basic items used by preppers include Polar-shield sleeping bags, portable lanterns and emergency medical kits.
The South’s Ministry of Public Administration and Security is also recommending people prepare a so-called go-bag for each house. The term refers to an emergency bag with essential items needed for an unexpected evacuation.
Kang Yoo-Mi, a well-known female comedian, recently posted a video showing in detail how to pack a survival kit into a bag in case war breaks out. The video, posted a day after a North Korean missile test, topped 400,000 views in less than two weeks.
The Ministry of Public Administration and Security advises that each household should obtain processed food provisions for 15 to 30 days to prepare for possible war. It also urges households to pile up enough water, and blankets and clothes that can keep people warm. Other recommended accessories in time of war include a portable battery, gloves and personal hygiene products such as toothbrushes and towels, according to the ministry.
While South Koreans are getting up to speed in the world of “prepping,” it is being taken to the next level by some in the United States.
Larry Hall, the project manager and owner of the Survival Condo Project, is benefiting in the wake of tension between the U.S. and North Korea, Time.com reported.
The Project is comprised of two underground silos equipped with nine-foot thick blast doors, diesel generators, a movie theater, indoor swimming pool and luxury condos in a complex somewhere around Salinas, Kansas. The exact location can’t be revealed due to “security reasons.”
“The North Korea situation got us a 40 percent spike in inquires,” Hall said. “Ever since I started building the bunkers I’ve noticed that any time there’s a natural disaster that a bunch of people are worried about, we get a whole bunch of calls – the 2012 Mayan [calendar] thing, the Fukushima tsunami in Japan, major earthquakes, when Trump got elected.”
Hall purchased the first of the abandoned silos in 2008 and converted them into a 15-floor, nuclear bomb-resistant apartment complex by 2012. Every unit in the first silo was sold with the exception of one, he told the New Yorker in January, and that success has led to the development of a new condo, which is a little over halfway completed, he said. It could house up to 28 units depending if they sell full, half or penthouse apartments.
“We thought it would take another year to sell it out by September, and we still have units available, but roughly 60 percent has sold out already,” he said.
Because of the advertised $3 million sales price for a unit, the Survival Condos attract affluent guests. “These are people you’d see on the Forbes list as the richest people in America,” Hall said. “There’s famous people that are definitely recognizable.”
Most analysts assess North Korea is not yet capable of a direct missile strike on the U.S. mainland, but increasingly focus on the more realistic threat at this point is an Electromagnetic Pulse Attack (EMP) attack.
To make that happen, North Korea could launch a low-yield nuclear missile from a submarine, ship, or even by balloon and explode it at high altitude, above the atmosphere.
An EMP attack could result in a blackout of the Eastern grid that supplies 75 percent of power to the U.S., according to a report by Business Insider.
The Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack, which was established by Congress in 2001, estimates that within 12 months following a nationwide blackout, “up to 90 percent of the U.S. population could perish from starvation, disease, and societal breakdown.”
The blackout would be worse in cities, because it would instantly deprive the population of access to drinking water, refrigeration, heat, air conditioning, and telecommunication. Food stores would be looted within a matter of days, and gas stations would cease to function without electricity.
Without Internet access and power, all commerce and advanced methods of communication would stop. There would be no TV, radio, phones. Credit card transactions and cash withdrawals at banks would be impossible. Paper money would become worthless, and Bitcoin would cease to exist, along with the stock market.
Newt Gingrich, speaking at the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources earlier this month, said an EMP attack “would send us back to the 18th century.”