U05a1 Case Analysis 2 – Aum Shinrikyo
On March 20, 1995, a Japanese cult known as Aum Shinrikyo released sarin a deadly gas in Tokyo’s subway during the early morning rush. The attack was carried out in five trains where each male member of the cult boarded the train and released the gas simultaneously. Many chocked, experienced convulsions while about eleven people died during this terrorist attack. Tokyo on this day experienced a multi-point attack where five trains from different locations converging in Tokyo were under attack (Kyle, 2000). The deaths and injuries were first reported at inner suburbs and then from a station to another. This was happening close to a building known as Kasumagaseki which houses most of the crucial agencies of the Japanese government.
The attack in Tokyo by use of sarin gas caused the death and injury of many people mainly because of the responses that followed after the attack. Sarin is a lethal gas produced in the 1930s by Nazi scientists. It is far much more toxic than cyanide and causes death within minutes. The hospitals in Tokyo did not have the necessary decontaminants to combat the continuous destruction caused by sarin. The medical professionals were not well trained to handle such cases and this caused the extend of the damage causing death and injuries to others as a result of secondary exposure. This was irresponsibility on the part of the hospital management because sarin gas was a common chemical at the moment and it was only right for the medical professionals to receive the necessary training for providing treatment in cases of contamination. Other agencies including the police and fire fighters acted on the issue in different ways without proper communication adding on to the current state of confusion. The lesson learned from the Tokyo subway attack was that the first line responders in such cases of emergencies ought to be well trained so as to handle victims of chemical attacks. This is crucial given the large number of casualties brought in the hospital in a short period of time (Kyle, 2000).
Other agencies including the media and the subway authorities were criticized on their response after the incident. Some of the media personalities insisted on getting in the subway to film those who were dead and injured despite the efforts of the police to keep people as far away from the scene as possible. These people risked secondary infection by coming in contact with the victims of the attack. The subway authorities did not stop the movement of the other trains even after the attack adding on to the chaos in the area. Most people criticized their actions saying that they acted irresponsibly putting the lives of more passengers in danger. The police, fire fighters and the subway authorities were not cooperative in taking the injured to hospital as soon as possible and those taken to hospital were reluctantly admitted by the hospital officials increasing the death of the victims and giving room for secondary infections.
Shortly after the attack, the police were armed and ready to outlaw the sect. However, the government declined their request because they did not have any concrete evidence to prove without a doubt that the Aum Shinrikyo was responsible for the attack. The cult lost its status as a religious organization and all its assets were frozen. The government did not do as much as it could to capture the perpetrators when the attack occurred (Kyle, 2000). The attack was not treated with the magnitude it deserved given that it was not the first attempt for the cult to experiment with chemical and biological agents. The cult continues to exist under a different name though some of the members have been convicted and others are standing trial concerning the attack.
Transportation methods are designed as open spaces to allow the free flow of people and that is why they are susceptible to attacks. The public officials are faced with a major challenge of providing financial support and security at the same time providing quality services to their clients. In most cases, it is not possible to prevent a terrorist attack. Most of them occur in highly guarded and secured locations and this was no different when it came to the situation in Tokyo. The Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear (CBRN) attacks are of great concern because they cause a great deal of irreversible injuries and death within a short time.
The consequences of CBRN may stretch a country’s capabilities to the maximum. It is the responsibility of the government to put resources in place and provide the necessary training to mitigate consequences of CBRN attacks. The first step is recognizing the possibility of occurrence of such an attack. Information should be circulated to the necessary responders so as to initiate a response plan. The scene of the attack should be well protected and isolated to prevent the further spread of the lethal substance (Brown, 2005). Only those involved in the response are allowed in the scene and should be in protective gear to prevent secondary contamination. Saving lives should be the top priority for all the response agencies. Timely warnings and evacuations should also be provided to prevent further contamination. In addition, specialist support should be incorporated so as to know how best to deal with the contamination.
The National Incident Management System (NIMS) is an organization put in place to handle any forms of disasters. The key issue that is stressed by this organization is preparedness of the responders and provision of training to mitigate consequences of any attack whether chemical biological or just natural disasters. The responders should also have the capability of responding in the shortest time possible conveying the relevant information to all the agencies involved. Management issues are also very crucial. They should be established prior to the incident, during and after the attack (Brown, 2005).
Kyle B. (2000). “Aum Shinrikyo: Once and Future Threat?” Emerging Infectious Diseases. Vol 5, 4.
Brown, C. (2005). “Backbone of NIMS.” The Chief. Retrieved on June, 1 from HYPERLINK “http://firechief.com/preparedness/firefighting_backbone_nims060105/” http://firechief.com/preparedness/firefighting_backbone_nims060105/