Civil defence consists of all the non-military actions that can be taken to reduce loss of life and property from enemy action. It embraces defence against all types of attack, including conventional explosive bombs or rockets, nuclear weapons and chemical or biological attacks. But in the missile era, civil defence presents many shortcomings. In the case of nuclear attack, short warning times preclude many civil defence measures (such as getting people into appropriate air-raid shelters) and many important factors are unpredictable. The behaviour of sheltered populations under extreme stress is largely unknown. The fire hazard from nuclear attack is only partly explored: a nuclear burst between an envelope of clouds above and snow below could increase the thermal effect (and resulting fires) by a large factor. There are inherent uncertainties as to when an attack may begin and when it may end, which frustrate civil defence actions. The detection of a fleet of approaching enemy bombers does not preclude the possibility of a simultaneous missile attack, nor that enemy submarines may be lurking offshore, both alternatives conveying threats with short warning times. Similarly, the explosion of a single nuclear weapon cannot be interpreted as the end of the attack for any specific area. More weapons may be in the offing at the very time that the desire to emerge from shelters to fight fires and attempt rescue work is at its peak.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a unique, experimental research work of the Union of International Associations. It is currently published as a searchable online platform with profiles of world problems, action strategies, and human values that are interlinked in novel and innovative ways. These connections are based on a range of relationships such as broader and narrower scope, aggravation, relatedness and more. By concentrating on these links and relationships, the Encyclopedia is uniquely positioned to bring focus to the complex and expansive sphere of global issues and their interconnected nature.
The initial content for the Encyclopedia was seeded from UIA’s Yearbook of International Organizations. UIA’s decades of collected data on the enormous variety of association life provided a broad initial perspective on the myriad problems of humanity. Recognizing that international associations are generally confronting world problems and developing action strategies based on particular values, the initial content was based on the descriptions, aims, titles and profiles of international associations.
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