Plague Disaster Project
Thirteen Scenarios from the US Homeland Security Department

It was reported in March 2005 that US plans to cope with "doomsday scenarios" had been inadvertently published by The Homeland Security Department.
Here are some likely terrorist-initiated scenarios.

1. Flu Pandemic This scenario begins in southern China and spreads within months to four leading American cities.
Casualities: 87,000 dead, 300,000 in hospital.
2. Nuclear bomb A ten-kilotonne nuclear bomb driven by van into a big city before being detonated would be the most expensive, costing hundreds of billions of dollars, according to the planners. Casualties: “could vary widely.”
3. Chemical and Biological - ground attack Terrorists spray anthrax with aerosols from a van as they drive through three cities. They would be able to hit another two shortly afterwards before authorities were able to grasp what was happening.
Casualities: 13,000 dead. Cost billions of dollars.
4. Chemical and Biological - contamination Anthrax could be used to contaminate batches of ground beef and orange juice.
Casualties: 300 dead, 400 injured. Cost to economy: millions of dollars.
5. Chemical and Biological - foot and mouth Farm animals infected by terrorists. Disease spreads as animals are transported around the country.
Casualities: none to humans. Cost to economy: hundreds of millions of dollars.
6. Chemical and Biological - airborne attack Terrorists using a small aircraft to spray chemical blister agent over a packed college football stadium.
Casualities: 150 dead and 70,000 taken to hospital. Cost $500 million (£261 million).
7. Chemical and Biological - ventilation spread - plague Release of pneumonic plague into an airport washroom, a sports arena and a train station in a big city, spreading rapidly. Casualities: 2,500 dead and 7,000 injured. Cost millions of dollars.
8. Chemical and Biological - ventilation spread - sarin nerve agent Release sarin gas into the ventilation systems of three large office buildings.
Casualities: 6,000 dead, 350 injured. Cost $300 million.

Several scenarios envisage terrorists using explosives to trigger wider disasters.

9. Explosives - chlorine Blowing up a storage tank of chlorine gas and releasing a large quantity downwind.
Casualities:17,500 dead, 10,000 severely injured and 100,000 taken to hospital.
10. Explosives - oil refineries Exploding containers ignite cargo ships carrying toxic chemicals.
Casualities: 350 dead, 1000 injured. Cost to economy: billions of dollars.
11. Explosives - Dirty Bombs Bombs with radio-active cesium-137 set off in three cities and contaminate 20,000 people.
Casualities: 180 dead, 270 injured. Cost to economy: billions of dollars.
12. Explosives - Improvised bombs Car or truck bombs and suicide belts used to attack hospitals and sports stadiums.
Casualities: 100 dead, 450 injured.
13. Cyber attack Attacks on computers over several weeks on US financial infrastructure.
Casualities: none directly. Cost to economy: millions of dollars.

Clark Ervin, a former Homeland Security inspector-general, denied that the list helped terrorists by revealing the nation’s vulnerabilities. “The terrorists know what their objectives are. They know what the vulnerabilities are,” he said. The report was likely to deter attacks in these areas because it showed that the US was on its guard, he said. “And if attacks occur it’s likely to minimise the damage.”

Published by ZigZag Education
Written by Duncan Grey