Experts fear growing preparedness funding cuts

Public health experts are voicing increasing concern over cuts in funding for disaster preparedness.

The United States faces an ever growing threat from catastrophic storms and terrorist attacks. Many experts predict that it is only a matter of time before the country is hit by another significant attack, according to CBS News.

Federal and state governments, however, have been forced to make significant cuts to preparedness funding as they grapple with budget shortfalls and growing a growing amount of debt. The looming sequester budget cuts are expected to leave the nation further at risk.

"All kinds of cuts in the budgets for public health agencies and health care in general have made it very difficult," Dr. Irwin Redlener, the director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, said, CBS News reports. "And our response right now is probably going to be more limited than it would be before we started cutting back on a lot of budgets. We're in a very difficult situation right now. Because of the [financial] crisis we're cutting back on public health support, which of course is a gamble we're taking."

Dr. Nicole Lurie, the assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the Department of Health and Human Services, agreed, noting that all levels of government will be affected by cuts.

"And the more we have those kinds of cuts, the more it will degrade our preparedness, and the more we will be playing catch up and not be able to do the best job we can do if another event happens," Lurie said, CBS News reports.