A nuclear war between the US and Russia would result in the death of five billion people, a new study has shown.
Many of the deaths wouldn’t come from radiation or a huge inferno though but rather starvation as people scramble for food in the fallout.
Entire populations would be wiped out by the lack of munch, says analysis fromRutgersUniversity.
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Nuclear winter, created by chucking a couple of the doomsday warheads in each direction, would lead to deaths in the years that followed in far greater numbers than in the battle itself, they said.
The hotspots, such as Germany, France, China, the UK and US would be flattened by the fighting.
But beyond this, the Rutgers boffins reckon most people worldwide would be dead by the end of the second year.
Meanwhile, some places would find they were doing well out of the conflict – such as Argentina and Australia.
While international trade would dry up and livestock likely to suffer, fewer deaths would be expected in these countries.
This is largely because they grow higher proportions of more resistant crops such as wheat, as well as having smaller populations.
The study was published in the journalNature Foodand said that if this scenario were likely to happen, “Australia and New Zealand would probably see an influx of refugees from Asia and other countries experiencing food insecurity”.
Panama, Paraguay and Haiti were all also expected to fare better than most countries around the world.
Around 75% of the world’s population could be wiped out in two years from the food shortages, while around 50-100 million people would be expected to die in the initial battle.
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The terrifying outcome of such horrific violence has left the authors of the study with one clear message.
“The data tell[s] us one thing: We must prevent a nuclear war from ever happening,” said climate science professor and co-author of the study Alan Robock.
The data found that no matter the scale of a nuclear war, the world’s food supply would be badly affected.
A nuclear war between India and Pakistan, the smallest scale possibility run through Rutgers’ analysis, saw a 7% decrease in the world’s food production.
A huge war between the US and Russia came out with a horrifying 90%.
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