As tensions with North Korea mount, Hawaii lawmakers anxiously are dusting off the state’s emergency plans in preparation for the possibility – however remote – of an attack on the islands.
The plans were last revisited in the 1980s. But the Hawaii House Public Safety Committee on Thursday formally called for the state’s defense agency to repair their hundreds of Cold War-era fallout shelters and restock them with medical supplies, food and water, Fox News reports.
“They haven’t been updated since 1985,” Rep. Matt LoPresti, a Democrat who serves as vice chair of that committee, told Hawaii News Now. “I was 11 years old when they were last updated. Many of the buildings that are on the fallout shelter list don’t exist anymore.”
While the bellicose threats and displays of weapons capability in Pyongyang are playing out on the other side of the world for most Americans, Hawaii residents – some old enough to remember the last time their home was at the frontlines – see the dispute much differently. Honolulu is roughly 4,600 miles from the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.
A North Korean missile launched Sunday to showcase the country’s nuclear and missile capabilities in honor of the birthday of its late founder failed just seconds after launch.
However, satellite images show a sixth nuclear test has been primed. And experts have said North Korea possesses, or could soon have, the capability to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles or nuclear warheads at Hawaii.
A long-range missile launched from North Korea could reach Hawaii or Alaska, said Dean Cheng, senior research fellow with the Asian Studies Center at the conservative Heritage Foundation. Hawaii is possibly a more desirable target, Cheng said, since the state has 11 military bases, including Pearl Harbor, and is the headquarters for the United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) at Camp Smith.
Cheng warned that since North Korea likely has an imprecise system, missiles launched at Pearl Harbor could actually hit downtown Honolulu or other areas of Oahu.
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