08-08-2008, 09:14 AM
Direct Action Resistance Fighter
Joined: Aug 2006
Flu pandemic 'biggest threat to Britain's security'
Quote:The first "annual risk register" will also warn of the threat to the UK of a terror attack and climate change, which is likely to manifest itself in the UK as coastal flooding.
Plans for the annual risk register were unveiled by Gordon Brown earlier this year to "enable communities to prepare better'' by including possible numbers of fatalities in a range of disasters.
The register will say that a flu pandemic is the biggest single threat judged by the likelihood of it happening and the potential impact on the population.
The Cabinet Office paper is likely to warn that a flu pandemic could cause the deaths of up to 750,000 people. An outbreak in 1918 killed 228,000 people in the United Kingdom and an estimated 20 to 40 million worldwide.
Such pandemics, as shown by the outbreak of Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome) five years ago, can spread far more quickly because more people are travelling globally.
An influenza pandemic is one that spreads worldwide. They occur when a strain of the virus is transmitted to humans from another animal species.
The risk register will look at the risks to the UK of severe weather, such as heavy snowfalls, and the risk of flooding, which could see parts of eastern England submerged.
It is also likely to warn that Britain faces a serious threat from al-Qaeda and other suicide bombers and others prepared to use chemical, biological and nuclear weapons in the name of Islam.
The register will also examine the risk to communities of industrial accidents for people who live near factories or nuclear power stations.
The Cabinet Office hopes that the risk register - which will be an annual document - will enable communities and local authorities to 'prepare better' for potential disasters.
Unveiling the Government's first national security strategy earlier this year, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: "The primary duty of Government is, and always will be, the safety of all British people and the protection of the British national interest.''
The strategy proposed creating a modern-day Dad's Army of volunteers to deal with a pandemic, evacuate the elderly in the event of a flood or help in the aftermath of a terrorist attack.
The new 'civil defence network' would be modelled on the ARPs, who patrolled the streets during World War Two bombing raids.
A separate 1,000-strong civilian force, made up of emergency service workers and judges, was also going to be created to assist failing states and help rebuild countries emerging from conflict.
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