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From Hiroshima to a nuclear weapons ban

On 6 August 1945, the nuclear bomb 'Little Boy' was dropped on Hiroshima, causing unimaginable death and human suffering.

Friday August 5, 2016


Three days later, another 'Fat Man' was dropped on Nagasaki. Just over 70 years later, Red Cross continues to call for a ban nuclear weapons to ensure such a humanitarian tragedy never happens again.

The horrors of Hiroshima

Hiroshima survivor Junko Morimoto: "A strong light filled the place. A roaring sound followed. I felt the house crushing on top of me. Everything was completely dark. I fell unconscious. I woke up. What I saw around me was just unimaginable. My second sister had collapsed over me. My brother had glass pieces all over his body. My older sister had a chopstick stuck through her lips. Our house was gone. I saw fire everywhere. I lost 330 students and staff from my school."

When the nuclear bombs 'Little Boy' and 'Fat Man' were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, tens of thousands of people were killed immediately.

In the following months 140,000 more succumbed to radiation sickness and injury. By 1950, the death toll had reached half a million.

Japanese Red Cross first set up a hospital for atomic bomb survivors in 1956. Since then, there have been more than 2.5 million outpatient visits and 2.6 million admissions, treating survivors. Two-thirds of survivor deaths recorded by the hospitals have been attributed to various cancers.

Why is Red Cross calling for a ban on nuclear weapons?

There are more than 16,000 nuclear weapons in the world. Right now, about 1,800 of them can be launched within minutes.

Even a limited nuclear war could leave over a billion people at risk of starvation. It would cause unspeakable suffering that cannot be limited in space or time. That's why Red Cross cares.   The only safe option for humanity is to ban the use of nuclear weapons and eventually eliminate them entirely. We have already banned landmines, biological and chemical weapons. It's time to do the same for the most destructive weapons of all.

Banning nuclear weapons is getting closer. In fact, 127 countries around the world have already pledged to ban nuclear weapons.

Read Junko Morimoto's story - ABC Online

Read more about eliminating nuclear weapons