Earlier this year, the world’s own man-made apocalypse index, the Doomsday Clock, indicated for the first time since 1953 that the world may be on the brink of global disaster, with the time sitting at two and a half minutes to midnight. Originally created in 1947 it has been used as a historic barometer for global political turmoil. But what would happen should a nuclear war or disaster actually happen?
Your first thought might be that the clock would strike twelve, but you may not be surprised to hear that that is not the first major concern to anyone living in an area affected by a nuclear incident. An immediate evacuation of a contaminated zone would start, not too dissimilar to what happened in Chernobyl in the 1986 and Fukushima in 2011. Larger incidents that could be termed as apocalyptic would drive any survivors underground, as most of the Earth would be coated in radioactive dust and materials that would be a nuisance to any life above ground.
It is for this reason that there were so many underground nuclear bunkers built across the United States, Russia and Europe during the Cold War, as the world feared the outbreak of a large-scale nuclear war. Certain other areas have designated the subway systems or other underground structures as go-to points should anything of that type happen now.
If this sounds like something out of video game it is because it is. There are a range of post-apocalyptic survival games based off of survivors having to rebuild the world after a nuclear incident. For the most part they are overly dramatized and feature mutant creatures and other such plot-driven creations that would simply not factor into a modern-day scenario. That being said, they usually tend to encapsulate the bleakness and desperation fairly well.
Opening Scene from Fallout 4 video game, Bethesda Software.
It has often been debated whether or not all semblance of governance would be abandoned should a large nuclear cataclysm were to happen and our innate instinct or fight or flight would kick in. Any action or reaction would of course depend on the size and nature of the incident, but the basic structure would be fairly basic: move away from the affected area, quarantine certain zones immediately, move underground and ensure that any head of state or important figures are kept safe.
To be entirely honest though, it is very unlikely that any such scenario ever take place, as a nuclear war would benefit absolutely no one, so I wouldn’t go live off the grid in a secluded area to begin prepping for the end of the world just yet.