New York City Example: Recovery

In this simulated attack we have assumed that New York is the only city attacked and that there is nothing to prevent state and federal agencies from concentrating their resources on bringing aid to the devastated area. Though the cleanup and decontamination of the most severely damaged and radioactive areas would take years, much immediate aid could be obtained from the outside.

Access

Manhattan is an island connected to the rest of New York and New Jersey by tunnels and bridges. Many of these access points will be affected to some degree by the blast. The Lincoln and Queens Midtown Tunnels are both in the 10 psi. ring and would likely be damaged or blocked by debris. The Queensboro Bridge is in the 5 psi. ring and would likely be damaged. The remaining tunnels and bridges all fall in the 2 or 1 psi. rings and might receive some light damage but would likely be usable. The rescue effort from outside would be further hampered by people trying to flee the area. In general, help from the outside would be slow in coming.

Medical Effects

With almost 900,000 people injured to various degrees, the task of caring for the injured will be beyond the ability of the medical system to respond. All but one of Manhattan's large hospitals lie inside the 5 psi. ring and would be completely destroyed. There aren't enough empty hospital beds in all of New York and New Jersey for even the most critically injured. The 1 psi. ring alone has an estimated 30,000 burn victims that will need specialized care. The entire country has a total of 3000 beds in burn centers. In the days to follow it is likely that many of the injured will die from lack of any medical care.

Utilities

Most of Manhattan will be without utilities (electricity, gas, water, sewage). Out to the edge of the 2 psi. ring, damaged buildings and the resulting debris will make repairs very difficult, if not impossible, for several weeks. It is likely that the stress to the power system will temporarily knock out power to an area much larger than that directly affected by the blast.

Rescue and Recovery

Transportation of the injured and the ability to bring in the necessary supplies, people and equipment will be dependent on the condition of the tunnels and bridges that connect Manhattan to New York and New Jersey. As discussed in Access, these points will be blocked or damaged to varying degrees, except at the far north and south tips of the island. The main train station lies in the 10 psi. ring and would be completely destroyed. Once access is established then true rescue work can begin.

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 New York would take many years. Some areas would remain dangerously radioactive and would have to be cleaned up at tremendous cost or be abandoned for many years to come. Even without the radioactivity it is likely that New York City would never fully recover to its present status as one of the country's leading financial and cultural centers.

Distance from
ground zero (mi.)
Population Fatalities Injuries Uninjured
0 - 0.4 75,000 75,000 0 0
0.4 - 1.0 400,000 300,000 100,000 0
1.0 - 1.5 500,000 220,000 220,000 60,000
1.5 - 2.5 1,500,000 235,000 525,000 740,000
2.5 - 4.0 500,000 0 30,000 470,000
Totals 2,975,000 830,000 875,000 1,270,000
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