Bug in/Bug out? Lessons from Libya

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by Minuteman, Mar 1, 2011.

  1. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    For those who don't know I am in the oil business and have worked and lived most of the last 20 years in the Middle East and North Africa. I have friends, colleagues, and acquaintances in most of the oil producing countries in this region.
    Needless to say I have been watching the events around here closely. I talked with friends in Egypt during the crises there and kept apprised of what was going on. I know many people in Libya right now and am watching that very closely. That is a much different, and dangerous situation than Egypt, Bahrain, Oman etc. Those areas are relatively safe for expats as long as you stay away from the areas where the demonstrations are happening.
    I spoke with a couple who live in Bahrain and they said if you avoided the road that led past where the demonstrators were gathered you really didn't know anything was happening. Same thing in Egypt.
    But all of these areas have had to one degree or another many of the same situations. And they should serve as lessons for any of us who are of the prepper, survivalist mindset.
    In Egypt the food situation was not severe but there were many days when it was not safe to venture out. Stores were closed and shelves in smaller neighborhood stores were soon empty. There were many instances of the power and of running water being cut off.

    The situation in Libya is much more severe and I see a lot of lessons to be learned there. Lessons that could apply to anywhere.

    I have been following the discussion on a oilfield forum that I belong to and thought that it might be of interest to us here.

    Here are a few snippets from the thread. A lot of good advice being offered there.

    - Libya


    I am very worried about the situation. The Libyan people on site are brilliant and could not do more for us, however they may leave to go home and we might be left on our own with no support or food if the situation deteriorates


    I'm stuck in a camp near Gialo, and have been since Monday whilst my company tries to get a flight for us.

    It's been total cluster, flights cancelled, no permission from the aviation authority, bad weather, pilots unwilling to fly etc.

    Our base has loads of food and water so we have been lucky, but some armed guys came and took some vehicles on Monday but they have not been back since. I've heard reports some camps have been totally ransacked.

    If the flight does not happen today we are probably going to drive to Egypt.


    On Wednesday we ventured out for food, by then the shelves were running low, no bread, and meats.

    Thursday, with Limited Communications I began orchestrating the plan to evacuate all rig hands and had some sucess in the areas South of Benghazi, Gialo, etc, but all westerns rigs are still desperate for evacuation.


    At this junction, my wife and I really do not know exactly what to hope for. I have always been self reliant in my own ability to discern and evade danger.

    We are holed up in Janzour in our villa. We have no Arabic speaking driver available. While we have ventured out several kilometers, we have been warned by the locals to stay within our area.

    in Day 6 of the Tripoli standoff, we understand now that we are either pro Qadafi or we are anti-Qadafi, either brings with it a target.

    We have heard or seen NO Violence. On This past Wednesday nite we were alarmed at the sound of gunfire, only to go onto the roof to find that the majority was fireworks.

    Our communications are still sporadic, Mobile phones work randomly. We are running out of food.

    There are still a few Brits, Scots in our area. We have ventured out to share info with them. It is importatnt to note to the American people that the people are not killing the people, it is a war, one faction against the other. If you are still here in Tripoli you would do well to take note of that fact and stay safe.

    For all of you who live on fantasy and seem to have the simple answers to the plight of us who are "trapped" keep in mind that it is not as simple as simply driving down to Walmart. Depending on were you are located, our means, measures our safety factor.

    Natural tendency is to get the hell of there but never fail to consider if it is safer to stay put. Not many folks under such conditions can think straight.

    Tightly roll up individually, a few medium and high denomination notes and stash them inside your tooth paste tube, inside belt (use a razor to split the edge), shirt collar lining, pen etc. Be prepared to trade or part with expensive items like lap tops and cameras.

    Service, fuel up and stash out of sight your best vehicle or two.

    Form a think tank ( include trusted locals if possible - they need to get home too plus they speak the language ) and work out all your alternatives.

    Lunar Calendar 2011

    Keep your cell phone fully charged andtop up charge when you get the chance. Stock up on dry cell batteries and acquire a short wave radio if possible even if it is not new- trade.

    Intelligently sift through any media reports - they don't always get it right plus the situation can change rapidly.

    Luggage- place a few items of underwear previously dampened with water on top of what you have packed...it might get you through customs or check points faster.

    No matter how stressful the situation, be polite and try your best to say calm and level headed, it will get you past even the most irate of officialdom. If you have problems doing this, hydrate yourself, but finding a toilet might be a problem.

    This is not the time to project, anger, frustration, power, fear or arrogance but you might be required to hold firm especially when you know you are just a few steps away from exiting this hell hole.

    Clear your cell phone/lap top/stored email / SMS of any stored messages or comments that could be incriminating.

    Do not lose your passport and other documents..get scanned copies and store on thumb drive or as attachments on your webmail account.

    Tip: if you're not using a vehicle, temporarily immobilise it by removing the rotor arm (if gasoline, like most of them are in Libya) and if someone wants to take it, tell them it's broken

    "Any of these individuals who can safely reach Tripoli, Benghazi or a land border should aim to do so"

    I am very surprised that the Foreign office is giving advice such as this.

    It is obvious that the situation is such that anyone who managed to get out by individual means is over: that could only have been done in the first 36 hours or so. And right now Tripoli sounds like a very dangerous place to be, Benghazi possibly less so, but both are a long way from the oilfields.

    I was in Libya during the Tripoli bombing in 1986: we knew something was in the air about ten days previously when we received instructions about 'eventual emergency evacuation plans', and also a few days later when upon finishing the latest well, we were told to stack the rig.

    But that event was not the same as what's happening now.

    One of the first and most basic rules of desert survival is to stay put: even more valid if you have food and water. This applies as much to a group (such as a number of people in a desert camp) as it does to an individual whose jeep has broken down. Ration your supplies. Someone will be looking for you.

    We've heard stories of isolated rig camps whose vehicles have been taken, and are running low on supplies. If you have no transport, don't try walking out of there, the desert can kill you as easily as a sniper in town will.

    Be ingenious: air-conditioners produce a lot of water condensation, for instance. This can be stored for drinking.

    For those with transport, it may be best to head for a desert base, where there is not only safety in numbers, but also an airstrip. But make sure somebody knows the details of your movements. Personally I think it highly unlikely that anyone travelling in the desert will be indiscriminately attacked there: the locals in the few small desert towns are likely as confused and scared as you are, and oilfield workers are not going to be considered the 'enemy' by either of the opposing sides right now.

    This is a great place to get first hand, on the scene reports of what is happening. Much better info than what the news is reporting.
    E.L., Cephus, UGRev and 6 others like this.
  2. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

  3. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    For those in the cities the price of food is skyrocketing. rationing of what is left, empty shelves. Everything we prep for. Of course living in a foreign country presents a whole new realm of challenges.
  4. BAT1

    BAT1 Cowboys know no fear

    Just got off my knees praying for the people affected over there and have three other forums praying too. Wait until our dollar bites the dust, wow are we in for one hell of a ride, humans. We must network locally NOW. We must have code words, telltale signs of who we are.
  5. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Thank you for this information MM
  6. rhead

    rhead Monkey+

    Prayers are going out for all those in this situation.

    Now all those who were jealous of the pay scales for those jobs can understand why.
  7. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus


    I am not sure what the Libyans would make of payers by infidels in support of their bid for freedom from a murderous tyrant and his oppressive regime, but I am confident that they would appreciate more some political support from world democracies for the imposition of a "no fly zone" in Libyan airspace.

    Contacting your senator or congressman to register your concern about the situation in Libya may prompt them to put pressure on international fora to even the playing field between the Libyan Dictator, and the fighters for freedom. Contacting your political representatives may require a little more commitment and effort than spending a few minutes communing with your god, but who knows, the politicians may get off the hands they are sitting on and actually do something.
  8. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    My prayers are for the westerners and others who are trapped there and surviving hand to mouth, and for the innocents trapped by violence not of their making. While I in theory support the peoples right to assert their will and overthrow a tyrannical govt. I am indifferent to their war and it's outcome. There are insurrections occurring all over the world at any given time.

    As for contacting my representatives and demanding they "do something" I am totally opposed to that in any form. You would have us intervene militarily in yet another Muslim country? No matter how altruistic the motive that is a no win situation from the start. It is their war and I wish them the best. But to want our military to intervene is ludicrous. So we can prop up another puppet regime that will take our money and still repress their people but in our "national interest". Look at the shining example of Iraq. What a shining beacon of democracy and anti govt. corruption.

    Our meddling in the internal affairs of third world countries is what has led to our being hated and despised by the countries that we supposedly were there to help. Trade with all, become entangled with none.
    ColtCarbine, ghrit and E.L. like this.
  9. WoodsWalker

    WoodsWalker Monkey+

    Minute Man, the only intervention should be the evacuation of our nationals. then let the Libyans figure this out for themselves. I have several personal friends in both Egypt and Libya. The aircraft engineers and mechanics in Egypt bugged in..while the ones in Libya had to leave when their homes where shelled...they actually were well prepared and drove out into the desert to an ancient fort (french maybe?) and are holed up there with plenty of food, water and locals to watch over things.

    I was in Japan a few years back during a MAJOR earthquake...when the stuff was all out, power water etc...that stashed water and snacks was a godsend...I do that anywhere i do...enough water for 3-4 days and high energy food for the same.

    A lesson for all.
  10. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    I agree wholeheartedly. A rescue mission if needed I would support completely. The Brits are doing it for their people. Even a little clandestine SF advisor type action I would not be opposed to. But a no fly zone means going in and destroying their anti-aircraft facilities, runways etc. We start doing that and we may well see the entire country turning against us. Along with condemnation by many others. Inflaming Arab passions around the region and endangering western expats that are relatively safe for now. A no win scenario and foolish.
    Cephus and Tracy like this.
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