July 24, 2017 12:26
The U.S. state of Hawaii has decided to resume evacuation drills every month starting in November in case of a North Korean missile attack.
The move follows North Korea's successful test on July 4 of an intercontinental ballistic missile that may be capable of reaching Alaska and Hawaii.
The islands' Emergency Management Agency said Friday that residents will practice to "get inside, stay inside, and stay tuned" on the first workday of each month. "The normal siren will sound, followed by a second siren that would be used in the event of an attack," officials told local media.
The drills are based on the assumption that a 15-kiloton nuclear weapon detonates 300 m above Honolulu.
These will be the first such drills since the Cold War. Some 14 million residents as well as tourists who visit the islands in their millions will take part in the drills. There were concerns that they could scare tourists away, but emergency officials insisted that they need to prepare for the worst-case scenario.
Vern Miyagi at the agency said an attack is "a low probability. But then... we have to keep a lookout for that. That's why we're talking about updating the plan. It's an awakening."
State officials are also preparing an emergency guidebook. The drills will include evacuation exercises for schools and public service announcements, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser said.
The state is just 7,000 km away from North Korea and is home to major American military installations, including the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Command. It could take less than 20 minutes for a North Korean ICBM to land on Hawaii.
A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll showed that 74 percent of Americans fear a full-blown war with North Korea, while 39 percent said they are "very concerned."
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