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Nuclear Famine: A Billion People at Risk

The newly generated data on the decline in agricultural production that would follow a limited, regional nuclear war in South Asia support the concern that more than one billion people would be in danger of starvation. Epidemic disease and further conflict spawned by such a famine would put additional hundreds of millions at risk. The findings included in this report support the following recommendations:

  1. There is an urgent need for further study to confrim the declines in corn and rice production predicted by Ozdogan and Xia, and to examine the effect on other key crops, such as wheat, and in other important food producing countries.
  2. There is a need to explore in more detail the subsequent effects that these shortfalls would have on human nutrition including both the extent of the decline in caloric intake that would result from these crop losses and the extent of micronutrient deficiencies that would, in turn, result from this decline in caloric intake.
  3. The need for further study notwithstanding, the preliminary data in these studies raises a giant red flag about the threat to humanity posed by the nuclear arms race in South Asia and by the larger and more dangerous nuclear arsenals possessed by the other nuclear weapons states. There is an urgent need to reduce the reliance on nuclear weapons by all nuclear weapons states, and to move with all possible speed to the negotiation of a nuclear weapons convention that will ban these weapons completely.

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