The apocalyptic bunkers where the rich are hiding out
This is Doomsday Preppers for the ultra rich.
Where those with enough cash go to hide out when a pandemic hits, when they think the world might be coming to an end, or both. It's bunkering down to ride out the storm in custom made shelters that come with a luxurious edge most of us could only dream of enjoying in our main residences.
The company that makes these shelters, Vivos, claims they are "the backup plan for humanity" and that owners can "survive virtually any catastrophe" within them. In survivalist slang, it's called "bugging out".
Demand for the shelters, which are available in the USA and Europe go for around $3.5 million each, is up 400 per cent this year, according to Vivos owner Robert Vicino of the in-demand underground real estate.
The dugout digs come complete with pre-stocked food, blast proof doors and helicopters on standby to fly owners to safety the moment Armageddon begins or the next category five cyclone makes landfall.
They also feature swimming pools and tennis courts underground, so that even if the world is ending for most folk, you don't have to give up too much of your lifestyle.
What's even more encouraging, if you can afford the price tag, is that the bunkers were originally designed by the military in the event of a nuclear holocaust.
"All my customers know something bad could happen," Mr Vicino told the New York Post.
"The dominoes are falling. We could be a month away from a meltdown. What's everyone going to do when they run out of food and money? It could get ugly. By that time, it's too late to call me."
There is one network of Vivos survival shelters in Black Hills, South Dakota on a site known as Vivos xPoint and built by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1942 as a military fortress that housed 575 concrete and steel underground bunkers and could also store munitions and explosives. xPoint was so named because it is the point in time "when only the prepared will survive".
Another shelter in Indiana, which was built during the Cold War to withstand a direct hit from a 20 megaton nuclear bomb (such a bomb would be 1600 times more powerful than the one dropped on Hiroshima during World War II) has housing suitable of accommodating 80 people and has been sold out.
Another shelter located in Rothenstein, Germany named Vivos Europa One, was originally built by the Soviets during the Cold War in order to store ammunition in preparation for a possible invasion of western Europe. It is carved into part of a mountain with plans to accommodate a zoo, storage for cultural treasures, and a gene bank for plants and animals, in order to reconstitute them after any possible extinction event.
Mr Vicino is also planning new bunkers in Asia and Spain.
And the good news for those of us who don't have a lazy $3.5 million to squirrel away on our post-apocalyptic future is that there are much cheaper bunkers available and even some above ground real estate for sale aimed on helping you survive the world's end. They are for sale for around $60,000 each for a spot in "the largest survival community on Earth".
Originally published as The apocalyptic bunkers where the rich are hiding out