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Government Report: US Still Unprepared for Major Emergency

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says many states and cities are still unprepared to deal with a major man-made or weather-related emergency or catastrophe.

The agency released a lengthy (174-page) "Nationwide Plan Review" Friday that evaluated the emergency response plans of all 50 states, 75 cities and six U.S. territories. President Bush ordered the review last September in the aftermath of the government's bungled response to Hurricane Katrina, which wrecked much of the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The report highlighted several common weaknesses among state and local emergency plans. They include the lack of a clear chain of command and a means of caring for special needs citizens such as the poor, elderly or disabled.

Terrorist targets Washington and New York were rated only "partially sufficient," while the state of Louisiana was rated "insufficient" several months after hurricanes devastated its coastal region.

The report says only 10 states have emergency plans that are fully acceptable - Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Vermont.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.