Ryan Pickrell, DCNF
As North Korea ponders firing missiles into waters off Guam, the island government is issuing pamphlets informing residents how to react to a nuclear strike.
“Do not look at the flash or fireball — It can blind you,” the two-page document distributed by Guam’s Homeland Security Department warns people who get caught outside in the event of a strike. “Take cover behind anything that might offer protection.”
The guide, first reported by Pacific Daily News, was issued in the wake of new and alarming threats from North Korea. It explains that residents should put distance between themselves and the blast, seek shelter and use dense materials to shield themselves, wait for the fallout to clear, and keep in mind that any protection is better than none at all. The information is precautionary, but the government is encouraging people to carry on as normal, despite increases in tensions.
North Korea threatened this week to launch a salvo of four Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missiles around Guam, home to U.S. strategic military assets, several thousand American troops, and over 160,000 civilians.
“Everyone should continue to live their lives,” Gov. Eddie Calvo stressed Friday, “There are no changes.”
“I know we woke up to media reports of North Korea’s talk of revenge on the United States and this so-called newfound technology that allows them to target Guam,” Calvo said. “I’m working with Homeland Security, the rear admiral and the United States to ensure our safety, and I want to reassure the people of Guam that currently there is no threat to our island or the Marianas.”
President Donald Trump upped the ante Thursday, asserting that if North Korea takes action against Guam, the U.S. response to Pyongyang’s hostile behavior will be unlike anything anyone has ever seen before. “Things will happen to them like they never thought possible,” Trump said.
Earlier in the week, the president warned that if North Korea continues its threats, “they will be met with the fire and fury and, frankly, power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”
The war of words between Washington and Pyongyang has escalated tensions over the past week.
Guam is not the first to release this type of guide.
After North Korea conducted a successful intercontinental ballistic missile test in early July, Hawaii issued an emergency response plan for residents to prepare them for a possible North Korean missile strike.
“We do not want to cause any undue stress for the public; however, we have a responsibility to plan for all hazards,” Vern T. Miyagi, the state’s Emergency Management Agency administrator, said in a statement. “We don’t know the exact capabilities or intentions of the North Korean government, but there is clear evidence that it is trying to develop ballistic missiles that could conceivably one day reach our state.”
Japan has also issued similar guides to its citizens, who are increasingly concerned about the possibility of a North Korean nuclear strike on their country. There are also fears that the North will mount chemical or biological warheads on their missiles.
The threat from North Korea, which was largely dismissed as bluster for years, has become a much more frightening reality.
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