The Catastrophic Effects of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bombings Still Being Felt Today

August 6th, 2015 - by admin

Human Wrongs Watch & ICAN – 2015-08-06 00:03:27

The Catastrophic Effects of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bombings Still Being Felt Today
Human Wrongs Watch & ICAN

(August 4, 2015) — The two atomic bombs dropped on Japan in August 1945 killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of people, and their effects are still being felt today.

The uranium bomb detonated over Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 had an explosive yield equal to 15,000 tones of TNT. It razed and burnt around 70 percent of all buildings and caused an estimated 140,000 deaths by the end of 1945, along with increased rates of cancer and chronic disease among the survivors.

A slightly larger plutonium bomb exploded over Nagasaki three days later leveled 6.7 km2 of the city and killed 74,000 people by the end of 1945. Ground temperatures reached 4,000°C and radioactive rain poured down.

Medical Response
In Hiroshima 90 percent of physicians and nurses were killed or injured; 42 of 45 hospitals were rendered non-functional; and 70 percent of victims had combined injuries including, in most cases, severe burns. All the dedicated burn beds around the world would be insufficient to care for the survivors of a single nuclear bomb on any city.

In Hiroshima and Nagasaki most victims died without any care to ease their suffering. Some of those who entered the cities after the bombings to provide assistance also died from the radiation.

Long-term Effects
The incidence of leukaemia among survivors increased noticeably five to six years after the bombings, and about a decade later survivors began suffering from thyroid, breast, lung and other cancers at higher than normal rates.

For solid cancers, the added risks related to radiation exposure continue to increase throughout the lifespan of survivors even to this day, almost seven decades after the bombings.

Women exposed to the bombings while they were pregnant experienced higher rates of miscarriage and deaths among their infants.

Children exposed to radiation in their mother’s womb were more likely to have intellectual disabilities and impaired growth, as well as increased risk of developing cancer.

Why Nuclear Weapons?
Human Wrongs Watch and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)

Nuclear weapons have been around since 1945 and today, nine states possess over 15,000 warheads – many which are ready to be launched within minutes. The Cold War might be over, but all nine states are continuing to modernise and upgrade their arsenals and the threat of nuclear weapons is far from over.

1. The effects are inhumane and unacceptable
Nuclear weapons are the most destructive, inhumane and indiscriminate weapons ever created.

A single nuclear bomb detonated over a large city could kill hundreds of thousands of people in just a few seconds. The effects would spread across regions and would affect unborn generations, and the humanitarian suffering would be immeasurable.

The attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki have shown the extent of the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons. More than 200,000 men, women and children have been the victims of those attacks.

Weapons like chemical and biological weapons, land mines and cluster munitions have all been declared illegal because of their indiscriminate, inhumane and unacceptable consequences. But nuclear weapons, the most destructive of them all, are still considered legitimate. This legal anomaly needs to be corrected through a new treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons.

2. Case of nuclear detonation, no meaningful humanitarian relief would be possible
First responders in a large scale humanitarian crisis, such as the International Red Cross or the United Nations have admitted there is little support or relief it could offer in the event of a nuclear detonation.

The decimation of infrastructure and the radioactive danger posed to first responders would prevent the most acutely-affected areas from being reached. Aside from the hundreds of thousands of immediate deaths, those injured would be left without little or no medical assistance.

3. The risk of a nuclear detonation is still a reality
There are more than 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world today. Thousands are on high trigger alert, meaning that they could be launched in minutes. Like any system, the systems controlling nuclear weapons are fallible and prone to error and accident.

Numerous cases have documented negligence by critical personnel that could have led to accidental detonation. The increase in cyber security threats has also posed risks to online detonation systems.

It is only through sheer luck we have avoided a catastrophic nuclear weapons accident to this point. The only way to ensure an accident never occurs is to eliminate nuclear weapons.


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