KAILUA-KONA — Rep. Matthew LoPresti says a revisiting of Hawaii’s disaster resilience plan has been a long time coming and is particularly crucial now in light of escalating threats of a North Korean nuclear attack on the state — or at least the escalating perception of such threats.
The House Public Safety Committee convened a public hearing Thursday to discuss Senate Concurrent Resolution 169 SD1 HD1, which suggests the Hawaii State Department of Defense, in conjunction with several other state and federal agencies, revamp the state’s disaster preparedness strategies.
“We’re a strategic target. It’s obvious,” LoPresti said. “When you combine a nuclear-armed rogue state with blustering foreign policy, it’s a recipe for state legislators having to take pause and say, ‘Wait a minute. What are we doing about fallout shelters?’ It’s kind of bringing us back to memories of growing up in the Cold War.”
The resolution highlights fallout shelters, specifically urging the department of defense, or HDOD, to inventory functional shelters, modernize those that are outdated, restock provisions at all of them and create a statewide awareness campaign to educate the public in preparation for the worst-case scenario.
It further requests HDOD present a report to the Legislature 20 days prior to the Regular Session of 2018 outlining recommendations for upgrades to the state’s disaster resilience plan so lawmakers can develop policy and allocate funds to tighten up Hawaii’s greatest areas of vulnerability.
Referencing a recent article in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, LoPresti said experts believe North Korea may be capable of mounting 15- or 20-kiloton warheads atop intercontinental ballistic missiles, of which Hawaii and its essential military facilities would be in range.
“You’re kidding yourself if you think duck and cover would help you survive the blast,” LoPresti said. “This is about fallout. This is about having resources for the survivors.” Lawmaker says Hawaii obvious target should N. Korean strike; urges readiness | West Hawaii Today