What would happen if an EMP attack took out all electricity
Many humans live without electricity and our ancestors survived without it not so long ago, too. However, can you imagine a world – today – devoid of any electricity?
The likelihood of that happening is thin but let’s indulge in the thought and imagine what would happen if all electricity went out across the globe.
There are several ways a total blackout worldwide could occur but let’s focus on one scenario for the sake of this experiment. Let’s assume an EMP-like weapon detonated on Earth and took out all power and electric devices.
If Venezuela’s 2019 major outage is anything to go by, then the first people to be severely affected by such a power outage would be hospital patients. People on life support would likely be the first casualties because their ventilators or ECMO machines would no longer operate. Rubber lungs pumped by human power could be an interim solution but not a long term one.
Moving away from hospitals, the rest of the world would likely first think it was just a local power outage, as many people have already experienced at some point in their lives. However, once smartphones stopped functioning, a deeper sense that this is no regular power outage would settle in.
Noone would be able to communicate. Subways and electric trams and cars would stop operating. In urban areas, traffic lights would cease to work, resulting in major traffic jams, accidents, and chaos on the roads.
If past crises are anything to go by, then many people would rush to stores to loot them for their own means. In just a matter of days, local law authorities would be stretched thin, without any means of communicating, resulting in even more looting, rioting, and no way to properly quell them.
Without electricity there would be no means of distributing water. Soon after the power cut, people would likely rush to the closest body of freshwater to try and stock up. There would be an imbalance in logistics and supply lines, as there would be no water available for crops and animals, factories processing food, or refrigeration systems to keep everything fresh. We would start running out of food in urban areas.
There is not enough evidence available to know exactly how humans would survive in the long term. It would certainly be a step back in time to olden days but who’s to say it wouldn’t be possible to survive, again, without electricity?