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Nuclear War Would Kill 5 Billion People Through Famine

More than five billion people would starve to death if there was a nuclear war between the U.S. and its allies and Russia, a new study finds.

Trinity bomb explosion United States Department of Energy, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Trinity Bomb explosion
Rutgers University study on starvation due to nuclear warfare infographic

A new study by Rutgers University in New Jersey, published in the journal Nature Food, models what would happen if the United States and its allies entered into a full-scale nuclear war with Russia.

The report hypothesizes that more than 150 million tons of soot would be generated as a result of firestorms created by the detonation of atomic bombs – the U.S. and Russia possess 90% of the global nuclear arsenal.

The rise of sun-blocking stratospheric soot would devastate the Earth’s climate – creating a nuclear winter – and severely limit terrestrial and aquatic food production for years.

The authors estimate the number of direct fatalities would be 360 million people, with over 5 billion people expected to perish from starvation two years later as food supplies are exhausted, and global trade all but ends.

The warning comes after UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres recently said, while citing the Middle East, North Korea, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, “humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation.”