Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
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Suppose that somehow or other you did survive the immediate effects of a nuclear attack and could shelter for a few weeks from fallout - what sort of world would you face afterwards? The services we rely on - lighting, piped water and sewerage, telephones, gas and electricity, rubbish collection, and transport - would have broken down. There would be social disorder as people searched for their families, looted for food, medicine and drugs, and discovered that their money had no value.
WATER    This would be a priority. People affected by radiation sickness need double the normal amount.
The water supply depends on regular maintenance and is likely to stop. Water which was available might be contaminated by bacteria or water-soluble radioactive elements.
FOOD    Even if there was time before the attack shops and warehouses might have been emptied by panic-buying. Stocks in cold-stores would rot when the power failed. Normal distribution would stop. Regional Government would control some stocks of food. Some food could be salvaged although much could be contaminated.
In the long-term, imports and British agriculture would be the only sources of food. Farm animals and crops would have been destroyed in the attack and land contaminated by fallout. Farming would lose skilled workers, fertilisers, and fuel for farm machinery.
SHELTER    Many homes would have been damaged beyond repair. Building materials and fuel would be scarce. For survivors weakened by famine or disease, lack of warmth and shelter could kill.
HEALTH    Radiation reduces our bodies' ability to fight disease. Children are especially vulnerable. Insects and rats, which spread disease, are not so badly affected by radiation and could flourish in the unhygenic conditions after attack. Epidemics of half-forgotten diseases would be inevitable. Medical services would soon break down from shortages of staff and medicines. The few doctors and nurses who survived uninjured could only treat a fraction of those needing help and they would face terrible moral dilemmas.