By Peter Maurer, President, International Committee of the Red Cross, Francesco Rocca, President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and National President of Italian Red Cross, and Ross Pinney, President, Australian Red Cross
It was 8:15am on August 6, 1945 when a sudden blinding light engulfed the sky above Hiroshima. The bomb released a colossal force of destruction never before seen. A blast wave faster than the speed of sound expanded outwards, creating a massive firestorm, levelling the city and killing tens of thousands of civilians.
Three days later, on August 9, the city of Nagasaki suffered the same fate.
Neither city had nearly enough doctors, nurses or medicine to aid all the victims. Before the attack on Hiroshima, the city had 300 doctors. After the blast, only 30 had not been killed or injured. Of the 1,780 nurses there, 93 percent were dead or wounded.
Today, 75 years after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the dark shadow of nuclear war still hangs over all of us, despite the horrors those cities suffered. To this day, no city can prepare for an atomic bomb, and no nation can effectively respond to one. Thousands and even millions of civilians will be killed and injured, and no one will be able to help.