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Reports question U.S. ability to deal with catastrophes

In the wake of the massive earthquake in Japan, a recently released National Research Council (NRC) report expressed concern that the United States is underfunding the interagency National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program.

The report provides a 20-year road map for improving U.S. "resiliency to earthquakes." In related news, a report prepared last year for the Department of Homeland Security says the nation's health system is ill-equipped to cope with a catastrophic release of radiation.

The report, obtained by Pro Publica, a nonprofit investigative news organization, says the health system "can only handle a few radiation injuries at any one time." It adds that "there is no strategy for notifying the public in real time of recommendations on shelter or evacuation priorities."

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