Residents get advisory on nuclear attack

From Japan to the US, doomsday preppers - and even the less paranoid - are not taking chances and are getting ready for a fallout

WASHINGTON • Guam officials have distributed a two-page pamphlet advising island residents how to prepare and react should North Korea launch a nuclear strike against the US territory.

The document includes several ominous warnings, the first being: "Do not look at the flash or fireball - It can blind you."

It also highlights steps for determining what shelters are "safe" - and for removing radioactive material on people's clothes, skin and hair. (Do use shampoo, it says. Don't use conditioner, as it will bind the toxins to your hair.)

Distributed by Guam's Homeland Security Department, it comes as President Donald Trump trades increasingly alarming statements with Pyongyang, which said it is developing plans to attack the Western Pacific atoll.

The government fact sheet would seem a jarring departure from an address by Guam Governor Eddie Baza Calvo, who sought on Wednesday to reassure the island's 160,000 citizens: "I want to reassure the people of Guam that currently there is no threat to our island or the Marianas."

The guidance issued last Friday is an extension of longstanding public safety practices designed for typhoons and other natural disasters that menace the region.

"Our office hasn't received too many concerned calls," Ms Jenna Gaminde, a spokesman for Guam Homeland Security, told The Washington Post on Friday. "We've had a few here and there, our lines blow up when there's a natural event. People are calm."

About 3,540km from North Korea, Guam houses about 7,000 US troops. It is a launching point for strategic bombers that make routine show-of-force flights over the Korean peninsula.

Guam residents have mixed reactions over the nuclear threat, reported Reuters. "It's a little scary, but I mean it's not like the first time we've got these threats," Ms Krystal Aguon told Reuters. Another resident Victor Bilon said the news has been "pretty crazy" and "it's a really big problem".


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 13, 2017, with the headline 'Residents get advisory on nuclear attack'. Print Edition | Subscribe