Humanitarian assistance in response to the use of nuclear weapons


The use of even a single nuclear weapon with a relatively small destructive power in or near a populated area is likely to produce humanitarian needs that will be difficult to address. In light of the effects of a nuclear explosion, many survivors are likely to require urgent medical care for a wide range of serious injuries, shelter to shield them from the on-going risks of exposure to ionizing radiation, and other humanitarian assistance.

However, the significant destruction of infrastructure and large radioactively contaminated areas would considerably complicate the delivery of humanitarian assistance. In addition, ionizing radiation would pose serious risks to the health of assistance providers and special protection measures would need to be taken.

Although some countries have response capacities in place, there is presently no effective capacity at the international level to deliver appropriate humanitarian assistance to survivors if nuclear weapons were ever to be used.

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