Hawaii lawmakers want state officials to update plans for coping with a nuclear attack as North Korea develops nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that can reach the islands.
As AP reports, the state House Public Safety Committee unanimously passed a resolution Thursday (see below). Committee Vice Chairman Matt LoPresti says he’s not trying to spread fear. But he wants the public to know the government is taking steps to protect them in the worst case scenario. He’s aiming to get state funding to re-equip Cold War-era fallout shelters.
“…nuclear arms experts recently said that North Korea already has, or may soon have, the ability to target Hawaii with a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile with possibly the same destructive force as the 15-kiloton and 20-kiloton bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively, according to a Honolulu Star-Advertiser article;
and WHEREAS, the Legislature finds that airborne electromagnetic pulses radiating from a nuclear disaster may have a radius of approximately 1,500 miles and could adversely affect the operation of electronic devices statewide, rendering many of these devices unusable; and
WHEREAS, President Donald Trump has warned that the United States may take unilateral action against North Korea unless China does more to help the United States rein in North Korea’s nuclear program;
under the current state of geopolitical tensions affecting the United States, it is in the best interest of Hawaii to prepare for a nuclear disaster by updating its fallout shelter plans.“
The resolution that moved forward Thursday said that in 1981, Oahu had hundreds of fallout shelters — “many stocked with medical kits, food, and sanitary kits.” But in later years, funding dried up, and stocks were thrown out.
Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Executive Officer Toby Clairmont showed lawmakers a response plan from 1985 that hasn’t been updated since.
He says there’s also a need to educate the public about what they can do for themselves.
Full Resolution below…
The resolution next goes to the Finance Committee.