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Legislators Seek Updated Disaster Plan in Light of N. Korea Tensions

Posted April 13, 2017, 09:05 AM HST
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The U.S. Pacific Command  detected and tracked what was assessed to be a North Korean missile launch at 11:42 a.m. Hawai‘i-Aleutian Standard Time, April 4. The launch of a single ballistic missile occurred at a land-based facility near Sinpo. HIEMA website photo.

According to an article titled ” North Korea Threat to Hawaii” posted on the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency website, “Nuclear arms experts think North Korea already has, or soon will have, the ability to target Hawai‘i with a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile with possibly about the same destructive force as the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”

The article was published in the Honolulu Star Advertiser and posted on the HIEMA site on April 10, 2017.

According to news sources (MauiNow.com), the “House Public Safety Committee will hold a hearing today on Senate Concurrent Resolution 169 SD1 HD1 that urges the state Department of Defense to modernize Hawaiʻi’s disaster preparedness plans amidst geopolitical tensions between North Korea and the United States.”

“Hawaiʻi’s prime location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and its abundance of military commands, including the United States Pacific Command, which is responsible for military operations in an area covering more than half of the earth’s surface,” makes the state a strategic target, the resolution states.

The resolution says that President Donald Trump has warned that the U.S. may take unilateral action against North Korea unless China does more to help the U.S. rein in North Korea’s nuclear program.

Under the current tensions, lawmakers say it is in Hawaiʻi’s best interest  to prepare for a nuclear disaster by identifying locations of usable fallout shelters, upgrading outdated fallout shelters and restocking provisions.

The Legislature finds that in 1981, Oʻahu had hundreds of fallout shelters with “many stocked with medical kits, food and sanitary kits; but eventually funding stopped, stocks were discarded, and existing fallout shelter markings became outdated and no longer applicable.”

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Resolution supporters also want the state to identify a backup harbor in case Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, Kalaeloa Barbers Point Harbor, or any other major harbor capable of handling shipped cargo is damaged and becomes unusable.

The resolution also requests that the state include in its proposed Aloha Stadium redevelopment plans, a reinforced stadium parking lot that may serve as an emergency backup harbor yard.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 169 SD1 HD1 was proposed by PBS Vice Chair Rep. Matt LoPresti (Ewa, ʻEwa Beach, ʻEwa Gentry, ʻEwa Villages, Hoakalei, Ocean Pointe).

Supporters want recommendations to be reported back to the Legislature prior to the 2018 regular session.

Copies of the Concurrent Resolution were to be transmitted to the commandant of the United States Coast Guard, acting National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration administrator, governor, adjutant general, director of Transportation, the mayors of each of the counties, president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, and chairperson of the Stadium Authority.

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