Lawmakers in Hawaii have asked state officials to update contingency plans and provide extra funding in anticipation of an attack from North Korea, amid escalating tensions between America and the communist state.
Last Thursday, the state’s House Public Safety Committee passed a resolution demanding extra resources for any potential attack, which includes the redevelopment of shelters last used during the Cold War.
Amongst other things, the resolution asks for the “restocking of fallout shelter provisions,” as well as calling on authorities to “conduct public awareness campaigns to ready the public for a nuclear disaster.”
“At a time when we have this kind of saber-rattling and really blustering foreign policy, it does make people a little nervous,” said House Public Safety Committee Vice Chairman Matt LePresti. “They haven’t been updated since 1985. 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.”
Many experts have warned that Hawaii may be the first point of any potential North Korean attack, with its location in the mid-Pacific ocean far more reachable than the American west coast.
The remote island is located 4,660 miles from North Korea, while Los Angeles remains approximately 5,800 miles in distance. An analysis carried by the BBC suggests that North Korea possesses over 1,000 missiles, all with ranging capabilities.
Some of their weapons, including the Taepodong-2 ballistic missile, have an intercontinental range, meaning they can travel up to 5000 miles, just short of the American coastline.
The request comes amidst rising tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, with Donald Trump warning last week that he was sending “an armada” into the region to fend off any potential threat.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, North Korean forces held a military parade to celebrate the 105th birthday of former leader Kim il-Sung, who remains the country’s “eternal leader.” However, reports from South Korea also indicated that the country’s planned missile launch, intended to be a show of strength, ended in failure.
On Monday, Vice President Mike Pence visited the Korean demilitarized zone, also the border between South and North. In an interview with CNN, Pence said that “the people in North Korea should make no mistake that the United States of America and our allies will see to the security of this region and see to the security of the people of our country.”