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No Health Care for Those Who Might Survive a Nuclear Strike

Feb. 14, 2022 (EIRNS)—With a look at the total lack of protection of human lives in a potential nuclear war, a new report by the International Campaign to Ban Nuclear Weapons, ICAN, warns of a catastrophe to be expected by those who may have survived a nuclear strike. The immediate health response capacity to treat victims of a 100 kiloton airburst nuclear weapon detonation is minuscule, reported the EU Political Report last week. The report’s purpose is to demonstrate that the nuclear weapons’ powers are not prepared to care for civilian survivors of their nuclear war policies, and the obvious solution is to get rid of the nuclear weapons.

The report, “No Place To Hide: Nuclear Weapons and the Collapse of Health Care Systems,” looks at the consequences if just an average-sized nuclear weapon should be detonated over a major city such as Paris, Washington or New Delhi. Reacting to the report, Executive Director of ICAN Beatrice Fihn said: “The world was not ready to respond to a global pandemic. Our report shows that the nine countries that host nuclear weapons are even less ready to respond to a one small nuclear detonation. It would be a humanitarian disaster within seconds and the long-term health impact would be disastrous beyond the ability of any nation to effectively respond.”

The findings of the ICAN report for 10 major cities of nuclear weapons countries, or those that host nuclear weapons (e.g., Berlin) are terrifying:

• People within 4km in every direction from the 100 kiloton airburst nuclear weapon detonation point would suffer third-degree burns;

• ICU beds and burn care centers that survive the blast would be left to treat hundreds of thousands to over 1 million injured people, depending on the city;

• Medical infrastructure would be overwhelmed by many times more new patients in one city in just a second, than there were new COVID-19 patients in a day at the peak of COVID-19;

• As an example, in New Delhi, 50,000 beds would have to accommodate more than two and a half million injured people.

Of course, in any one city struck by just one 100 kt nuclear weapon, electricity, running water, sewerage would not be running, all functions on which medical intensively relies. Transportation would be greatly hampered in rubble-filled streets, and fuel would be unavailable, without power to pump gasoline—what gas is in the tank is what you have to run on.

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