Most U.S. Cities and States Unprepared for Catastrophes


According to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report, nearly five years after the 9/11 attacks, most cities and states within the United States are still unprepared for a major catastrophe.

The study shows that Washington, one of the targets of the attacks, was among the worst-prepared regions in the country for a catastrophic event. Other large urban areas seen to be poorly prepared included Dallas and Oklahoma City—the site of a 1985 bombing that killed 168 people. The best-prepared states included Florida and 10 others that are generally in the “Hurricane Belt” along the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic coast.

The report was released just two weeks after the DHS angered politicians in Washington and New York City by slashing their 2006 counterterrorism funding by 40 percent.

Among the areas needing the most attention were evacuations plans, resource management, and dealing with people with “special needs” like the disabled, non-English speakers and the elderly. States and cities need to coordinate their planning and need a clearly defined command structure, the report says.

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