War in eastern Europe: a humanitarian disaster
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School of Medicine, Tufts University, Boston, United States
Organisation of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Maryland, United States
Physicians for Social Responsibility, Massachusetts, United States
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1715
ar in Eastern Europe: A Humanitarian Disaster on February 19, 2022, Nobel Peace Prize winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) hosted a webinar entitled: “War in Eastern Europe – on the Brink of a Humanitarian Disaster.” [1] It predicted, all too accurately, that conventional war in Ukraine would be devastating to civilians in addition to combatants, and that it threatens much worse if nuclear power plants are attacked or nuclear weapons are used. Five days later, the Russian Federation invaded Ukraine. The world has seen the crisis in Eastern Europe become a regional humanitarian disaster and that it still threatens to become global humanitarian catastrophe if war involving nuclear-armed nations erupts in Ukraine. In this workshop, IPPNW is updating its emergency briefing with the same distinguished panel of experts to examine the terrible human cost of the War in Ukraine so far, and the potential that exists for it to become much worse. Topics to be covered include: - Conventional war – The direct and indirect impacts of the ongoing conventional war in Ukraine continue to have devastating health, human rights, and environmental effects upon Ukrainian society and its landscape, with spillover effects in the surrounding countries and globally – including threats to global food security. - Damage to nuclear power reactors - The risk continues for large radioactive releases from the six Zaporizhzhia nuclear power reactors occupied by the military of the Russian Federation, or from reactors at the other three operating nuclear power stations in Ukraine that are vulnerable to deliberate or accidental destruction or meltdowns due to loss of power through either physical attacks or cyber-hacks. - Escalation to nuclear weapons use - The regional and global consequences would be catastrophic if nuclear weapons are launched intentionally or by accident or miscalculation. In addition to the immediate large-scale and indiscriminant carnage the use of a nuclear weapon or weapons would bring, the size, number, and conditions under which nuclear weapons might be used will determine whether there are environmental and climatic effects that could extend globally, reducing crop yields and harming or even devastating food security world-wide. IPPNW continues to support the petition it initiated through the group Avaaz with the Dalai Lama and 14 other fellow Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, signed by over a million people worldwide: “We Reject War and Nuclear Weapons” – Join the Global Call” [2]. It calls for an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of all Russian military forces from Ukraine, and for Russia and NATO to explicitly renounce any use of nuclear weapons in this conflict. Links: ------[1] https://www.ippnw.org/no-war [2] https://secure.avaaz.org/campaign/en/no_nuclear_war_loc/
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