In late 2018, India launches a nuclear missile strike against key points in the former Laos, hoping to wipe out a large portion of the Chinese military. Aging Soviet detection equipment, unmanned and forgotten in the wastes of Siberia and along the Pakistani border is triggered, launching volleys of missiles at the sources of the Indian launches. Thinking the attack is from Pakistan, India immediately retaliates. Nuclear 'domino effect' continues across southwest Asia toward the Mediterranean Sea. Most of southwest Asia and the Middle East are reduced to radioactive slag. A United Nations committee looks into the effects of the massive radioactive event in the Middle East in 2020, finding that cancer rates globally have reached pandemic levels. A year later, they commission the Global Earth Meteorological Project 2 (GEM-2 Project) , to study the effects of the Nuclear Disaster in the Middle East on the global populace and environment further. In 2022, after one year of intensive research, the GEM-2 Project presents its findings. The nuclear event in the Middle East has increased global warming exponentially, and rather than causing a 'nuclear winter' scenario, has caused a 'nuclear summer'. Radiation levels are found to be globally off the chart, and animal and plant mutations have been found accelerating at dramatic rates. The entirety of the Middle East is still too radioactively hot to support anything more than the most mutated and hardy bacteria. Additionally, combined with economic failures in Europe after the event, a phenomena known as 'Mass Destruction Syndrome' begins to emerge in the global populace. Countless religious and cult movements spring up around the destroyed cultures of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus Valley. Many Christians, Muslims, and Jewish people see the nuclear event as the final Judgment, and suicide movements flood through the western main-line religions. A total death count is completed in 2026, projecting that the Middle Eastern Nuclear Incident resulted 2.8 billion deaths and in the destruction of the majority of upper Africa, south east Asia, the Middle East, and most of the Indian sub-continent. In the years that followed the event, a series of cities have begun to emerge from the ashes of the incident at the edges of the radiation zone - mainly the Somalian Reclamation Zone, Reclaimed Zones of Sudanese-Egypt, the Ruins of Mecca, and the Kazakhstani Reclaimed Zone. Other settlements may have emerged within the nuclear haze in the near century since the disaster, but no claims for global recognition have been made.
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