Nuclear Weapons

Impending Nuclear War: Survivors will not be Winners

Professor Amtul Razzaq Carmichael, UK

The consequences of the impending use of the nuclear arsenal of the world will be catastrophic beyond all imaginations. The death toll will run into millions and a much greater part of the world population will be crippled and will have permanent health consequences due to radiation exposure. Nearly, 13,000 weapons are in the possession of nine nuclear powers, including the United States, Russia, France, China, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, India, Israel, and North Korea. These weapons pose an existential threat to humanity because of their vast destructive power. For example, the warheads on just one US nuclear-armed submarine have seven times the destructive power of all the bombs dropped during World War II, including the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan. [1] Of the 5,500 nuclear weapons in the US, 1,389 are deployed and ready for action. Nuclear weapons housed at air bases in five European countries can be launched in less than 5 minutes and submarine-based nuclear weapons can be launched within fifteen minutes.

Ninety percent of the nuclear arsenal of the world is owned by the US and the USSR, and the increasing tension between these superpowers is a grave cause for concern for the health and survival of the entire human race. The most destructive of the US weapons, the B83 gravity bomb, is 80 times stronger than the bomb that almost annihilated Hiroshima. [2] Nearly 160,000 people died after the use of a 15-kt bomb in Hiroshima.[3]

To put this in perspective, it is estimated that the nuclear attack on the UK will kill 29 million UK citizens, and 6.4 million will be seriously injured. [4] In London alone, an estimated 5 million would be killed and half a million be injured. All services, including health care, transport, energy, and law and order would be completely disrupted. The number of hospital beds would be grossly inadequate to deal with the casualties and would get further overwhelmed by the biological consequences of millions of corpses (both human and animal) decaying. Even a smaller attack, a single detonation of a 100-kt nuclear bomb over the city of Manchester would kill 81,000 people, injure 212,000 people, and would destroy the vital infrastructure and emergency services for all the 510,000 population of the city. [5]

As for the immediate aftermaths for the survivors, they will face a world of no running water, piped sewage, food in the shops and healthcare facilities. [6] The healthcare systems will not have the resources and manpower to deal with the short-, medium-, and long-term effects of radiation on the population. [7] The severe environmental impact of a nuclear war includes a threat of a nuclear winter caused by debris obscuring the sunlight, up to 80% increase in UV indices because of NO2 mediated damage to the stratosphere and a shortage of annual growing seasons by 10-40 days. [8], [9] This would result in a widespread food shortage for the world population. A remote exchange of 2.5% of the world’s nuclear arsenal could lead to climatic and agricultural disruption so vast that it makes human survival unimaginably harsh. [10] The catastrophic loss of life, nuclear winter, a global loss of ecosystems, grossly inadequate healthcare facilities, ruined economies, and nuclear famine are obvious consequences of a nuclear holocaust that awaits humanity if current world tensions are not addressed and resolved.

To avert such a catastrophic war, the Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V (aba) has repeatedly advised us to fulfil the rights due to Allah and His creation. His Holiness (aba) has expounded that when injustices and oppression become prevalent in the world, then people face punishment in this world. [11] Allah’s wrath descends for injustice and wrongdoing towards others in this life. His Holiness (aba) advised us all to pray and lobby our leaders to find a peaceful solution to current world tensions based on absolute justice. May such a disastrous world event can be averted, Ameen.

About the Author: Professor Amtul Razzaq Carmichael MD, M Ed, FRCS (Gen Surg.), MBBS, is a consultant. She qualified in 1987 with gold medals for academic Excellence and undertook her surgical training at major teaching hospitals in London, Edinburgh and Philadelphia. She has authored many articles for major peer-reviewed scientific journals. She is a senior member of The Review of Religions Editorial Board as well as the Assistant Manager.




[3] Atomic Heritage Foundation. Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki—1945. 2014

[4] Campbell D.1982 War Plan UK-the Truth about Civil Defence in Britain.London: Burnett Books, 1982

[5] Moyes R, Webber P. Short case study of the direct humanitarian impacts from a single nuclear weapon detonation on Manchester,UK. Article 36. 2013

[6] Greene O, Rubin B, Turok Net al. London after the Bomb.Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982


[8] Hampson  P.  Photochemical war on the atmosphere.Nature1974;250:189–91

[9] Mills M, Toon O, Lee-Taylor J, Robock A. Multidecadal global cooling and unprecedented ozone loss following a regional nuclear conflict. Earth’s Future2014;2:161–176

[10] F. Boulton, T. Dunn. Journal of Public Health (2020)