Detroit Example: Recovery

Radioactive Fallout

This simulated attack considers Detroit to be the only damaged area in the United States, that there is no other threat that would prevent survivors and those in surrounding areas from giving all possible aid, and that Federal and State governments will actively organize outside assistance.

Medical Effects

The near half-million injured presents a medical task of incredible magnitude. The Detroit area hospitals contain about 18,000 beds. Nearly 55% of these beds lie within the 5-psi ring, and would be destroyed. Another 15% would be severely damaged, leaving 5,000 beds usable. They would be incapable of providing significant medical care for the tens of thousands of burn victims. The ENTIRE United States only has approximately 3,000 beds in specialized burn centers.

Utilities

The total loss of all utilities (electricity, gas, water, and sewage) in areas where there has been significant physical damage to the basic structure of buildings is inevitable. These services can slowly be restored within 1 to 2 weeks with outside assistance.

Rescue and Recovery

Rescue and recovery operations will depend on the reestablishment of transportation. The main airport, located in the middle of the 2 to 5 psi ring will have essentially all of its facilities destroyed. Interstate highways and broad urban streets without significant structures nearby will survive as far in as the 12 psi ring and can be quickly restored to use on clearing away minor amounts of debris. However, the majority of urban streets will be cluttered with varying quantities of debris, starting with tree limbs and other minor obstacles at 1 psi, and increasing in density up to the 12 psi ring, where all buildings, trees, and cars will be smashed and quite uniformly redistributed over the area. It could take weeks or months to remove the debris and restore road transportation in the area.

Clean-up efforts could not begin until 2-3 weeks after the attack. The main train station will also suffer major damage but will be usable.

Fallout Effects

The extent and location of radioactive fallout will depend on weather conditions, especially the speed and direction of the wind. It would be most dangerous during the first few days after the explosion. The fallout could cover the farming areas in Canada if the wind is from the southwest, or over Cleveland and Pittsburgh, if the wind is from the northwest. Some areas would remain dangerously radioactive and would have to be cleaned up at tremendous cost or be abandoned for many years to come.

It is likely that many tens of thousands of people would become homeless. Creation of temporary shelter would be among the first recovery tasks after all the trapped and injured had been found and cared for. True recovery for Detroit would take many years.

This simulated attack considers Detroit to be the only damaged area in the United States, that there is no other threat that would prevent survivors and those in surrounding areas from giving all possible aid, and that Federal and State governments will actively organize outside assistance.

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