Silent Warfare: Managing Nuclear Chemical Biological (WMD) Disasters
Reshmi Kazi ·       

Advances in technology have made accesses to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) an easy affair. The disasters unleashed by the use of WMD thus, could be catastrophic. The book "Silent Warfare: Managing Nuclear Chemical Biological (WMD) Disasters," therefore, is a timely attempt to spread awareness about likely WMD disasters among the general public and governmental officials. The objective of this book is to emphasize the diabolical nature of WMD disasters so that appropriate measures can be initiated by state machinery.



The book in chapter one, begins by depicting an imaginary chemical attack having taken place in a busy market place in New Delhi on 20 May 2006. The author reconstructs the sequence of activities that are performed by the concerned officials in order to meet the contingency. According to the author and much to our relief, they indicate that the city is already equipped with various measures to reduce the fallout effect of a chemical attack. It is no doubt essential to evolve a well-developed planned course of action to deal with the challenges of a WMD disaster.



Chapter two emphasizes on the importance of a Disaster Management Plan at the national level so that a holistic approach to mitigate disasters of the affected area can be adopted. It also analyses the approach of the United States to WMD disasters and recognizes the necessity of forming Rapid Reaction Teams to protect and provide relief to victims at the earliest. This chapter recommends the creation of a National Disaster Management Authority as a lead organization to coordinate the impact of WMD disasters. A brief insight is also given into the necessary measures to be undertaken at the district and state levels and at the center to reduce the impact of WMD disasters.



Chapter three focuses on the security environment and concludes that likelihood of use of WMD by terrorist groups and non-state actors is highly probable. And that the prospects of WMD terrorism have increased with the advances in technologies which are of dual-use in nature. The author points out that this development poses serious threat to the global security situation.



Chemical weapons are regarded as a dangerous form of WMD with a potential to cause large-scale destruction. Chapter four throws light on the various ways a chemical attack can take place. It tabulates different types of chemical agents which have the toxic potency to cause serious injury to life, physiologically and psychologically. The chapter stresses on timely action essentially required to mitigate the fallout of a chemical disaster. Effective coordination among the police, military, medical team, fire department, civil defence organization, NGOs, media and district administration in combating a chemical disaster will only reduce its impact. A detailed analysis is also provided on the modus operandi to be followed by the various agencies involved in mitigating a disaster due to a chemical weapons attack.



Chapter five is devoted to describing the horrendous effects of a nuclear disaster and the radiological fallout. A general description of the various characteristics of a nuclear catastrophe has been brought out in detail to create awareness among the public. The author also recommends various steps to be undertaken as measures to mitigate the impact of a nuclear disaster. Various duties that should be delegated to several disaster managing agencies have also been detailed in this chapter.



Chapter six concentrates on the diversity of biological agents and their possible usage by terrorist organizations. It describes the characteristics of a possible biological attack and the actions to be undertaken by concerned agencies to mitigate the effect of such a biological disaster.



Chapter seven and eight suggest the importance of spreading awareness about the WMD disasters among the population without creating panic. The substance of these chapters is the preparations which should be undertaken taken by the general public to deal with Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) emergencies. The chapter highlights the measures needed to be taken by hospitals to tackle mass casualties due to WMD agents.



Chapter nine focuses on important recommendations so that the public and governmental authorities are prepared to handle a nuclear, chemical and radiological disaster efficiently. Although, this volume has been written in an India-centric perspective, these measures are universal and can be adopted by any state to combat a NBC disaster.



Silent warfare is an excellent guide that prepares the state authorities and the general population to effectively and efficiently manage a WMD disaster. Reading this volume was a fruitful exercise as it sharpened my ability to react wisely in a possible post nuclear, chemical or a biological attack condition.