What threats do we face, and what should companies and employees do?
As I write this at 6 AM on Monday, the 21st of February, the risk and threat situation impacting us and the world are as follows:
1) Covid is surging in Hong Kong and threatening to overcome the capacity of the local government to handle it. At the same time, Government policies are largely bringing Covid under control in Europe, the rest of Asia, the USA, and the UK. To be honest, we really do not know what is happening in South America, Africa, and the Middle East because medical reporting statistics in those locations are so unreliable. Covid will continue to be with us for some time, but societies are controlling the spread, and the situation is becoming manageable. While not perfect, this is good news. Here in Luxembourg, this appears to have become a manageable situation.
So, what should we do?
Continue to get vaccinated, wear masks, keep your environment clean, wash your hands often, avoid large gatherings of people you do not know, and maintain sensible engagement policies with friends and family. In addition, now is a good time to try to improve your health and strengthen your immune system. This is not hard to do. Positive steps to take would include health and fitness activities combined with sensible eating and the elimination of bad habits: Get 8 hours of sleep a night; eliminate junk food from your daily diet and make sure 50% of your food intake comes from fresh vegetables; stop smoking (!); eliminate excessive drinking of alcohol and stop using any recreational drug; walk or climb stairs for 30 minutes to an hour every day…. and twice a week do some muscle training with light to moderate weights with as many repetitions as you can manage. You will find if you start and maintain such a program that, your attitude towards life will become more positive and happier too! Start today and do this every day for the rest of your life!!!
2) The US and most world leaders expect that Russia will likely (a) invade Ukraine; (b) wage a proxy war using “little green men” irregular forces of separatists who they support (as they did in Crimea), or (c) undertake steps to ensure Ukraine remains a failed states as Russia have done in Georgia. No one expects Mr. Putin to back down because his popularity at home will suffer, and he will lose face if unsuccessful. Regardless of which steps Russia takes, the US and Europe are unlikely to challenge any invasion with direct military forces as Ukraine is not a NATO member country. Instead, the US and its European allies have threatened to wage an economic war against Russia via economic sanctions to increase the cost to Russia for their action in the present situation. This past week, Mr. Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian President, made an urgent appeal to Europe, the US, and the world community, urging the imposition of withering sanctions against Russia NOW to show Russia that the world community stands in solidarity with Ukraine. This request has not been agreed to as Europe and the US are taking a more nuanced approach of small steps to engage with and encourage Russia to solve this situation. Time will tell if this cautious approach works or if Mr. Putin considers this approach an indication of weakness…
3) If there is war or an unresolved situation, we may feel some degree of impact in Luxembourg. The biggest threats could be disruption of the supply chain of logistics and raw materials and the increased likelihood of cyberattacks to disrupt the economy and cause panic.
So, what to do?
Both companies and individuals should take steps to secure their needed supplies and protect themselves against digital disruptions. This week on Thursday evening, AMCHAM will host a cyber event to address cyber threats and preventive steps: what to do to protect yourself and your company. Details to register and attend can be found on the AMCHAM website (www.amcham.lu). Regarding the matter of individual supplies, we urge everyone to gather a three-day emergency preparedness supply in your house or apartment. We will be publishing an article on this subject in our AMCHAM Newsletter on March 3rd next week. You can find this article on our website without charge. Likewise, if you want to register and get our Newsletter for free, we offer it as a public service. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org giving us your name email details and asking us to put you on free distribution for this weekly digital Newsletter.
The logic behind a three-day emergency preparedness home kit (usually called a 72-hour preparedness kit) is because the first three days of any crisis are considered the most dangerous since it takes some time for government emergency services to respond to such a crisis and most people are unprepared to protect themselves during this first panic until governments can respond. Therefore, it is wise for individuals to be able to take care of themselves during this first emergency period by ensuring they have the following emergency supplies:
- 2 liters of bottled water per person per day (6 liters per person for three days)
- Three days of non-perishable food and drink supplies (per person) that can be eaten without being cooked
- A solar-powered flashlight with which you can recharge your portable phone
- Three dozen plastic garbage bags (and a few rolls of toilet paper) which you can use to line your toilet with so you can package your body waste for disposal in the event of a disrupted water supply
- Solar powered emergency lanterns and a supply of candles with matches and lighters to provide illumination at night
- A three-day supply of clothing (per person) appropriate for emergency usage and your weather conditions (and don’t forget rain gear)
- A multi-tool (like a Leatherman or Swiss army knife)
- A roll of duct tape (which can repair almost anything!)
- A supply of any prescription drugs you or other family members need.
- A first aid kit
- Warm sleeping bags
- A waterproof bag filled with copies of your vital papers and some cash emergency money in case the ATMs are not working
These 12 items should help keep you safe in any emergency you are likely to encounter in Luxembourg.
We hope you and your loved ones will never need to use these items! But, just in case, in an emergency, they might just save your life and are well worth the modest investment!
Be prepared and be safe!
With respect and very best regards,
Chairman and CEO