30 years later

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl tragedy. There are many myths about the accident, the official figures are not always accurate. Nevertheless, it has become the most serious accident in the history of nuclear power.

April 26, 1986 there was an explosion on the fourth unit of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant that completely destroyed the reactor. The so-called active accident phase lasted 10 days. All this time, very intense emissions of radioactive elements released in the atmosphere, including the isotopes of Uranium, Plutonium, Iodine-131, Cesium-134, Cesium-137, Strontium-90.

According to the official sources more than 200 000 sq. km. were radioactively contaminated. Approximately 70% of the territory of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine was espoused to radiation fallout. The accident affected not only modern Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, which is located near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, but also Eastern Thrace, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, the Netherlands, Belgium, Slovenia, Poland, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Ireland, France (including Corsica), Great Britain and the isle of Man.

As a result of the explosion 190 tons of radioactive substances were released into the atmosphere. Due to the accident more than 200 thousand people had to leave their homes and protect themselves from an unseen enemy. The accident has caused serious social and psychological problems in the lives of people affected by its consequences, and resulted in significant economic damage across the region. Due to the vast area of contamination disease incidence is increasing among the affected population. It revealed multiple chronic trauma, leading to the neurotic disorders (from 58.6% to 71,5%). Most children are identified with neurotic reactions, difficulty in adaptation in society and mental stress. Most defined are dysembryogenesis stigma, vegetative-vascular dystonia, reduced immune status, functional failure of the thyroid gland. There is a steady upward trend in the incidence of malignant tumors among people living in contaminated areas. In the future, it seems appropriate to ensure the long-term medical monitoring of the identified high-risk groups, which include children's population of the contaminated areas. There remains a need for continuous monitoring of radiation contaminated areas and implementing socio-economic rehabilitation of the population and territories.

In connection with this major disaster and aftermath that affected not only Ukraine, but also a wide range of other countries, many governments, international foundations, various organizations, non-governmental associations, and most importantly simple families provided help and support to respond to the overall situation.  To solve the existing problems, along with the social protection of the victims of the accident, the main efforts should be directed towards economic and social revival of the contaminated areas in the future.

Green Cross contributes to help the affected families and children who live in areas contaminated by the Chernobyl accident in Ukraine. The organization carries out its activities within the framework of the International SOCMED Program since 1999.

With the support of foreign donors and close cooperation with Green Cross Switzerland (GCCH) and Green Cross International (GCI) assistance is constantly provided to the most vulnerable, children, mothers and large families, low-income families.

Each year, Green Cross Switzerland organize a group that comes to participate in the events dedicated to the Chernobyl accident in order to honor the memory of the victims, to express their solidarity and commitment in addressing the pressing problems related to the consequences of the disaster. Traditionally, the group visits the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the city of Pripyat and Chernobyl; people take part in a night ceremony. At this time, members of the group also visited the deserted villages Redkovka and Gubichy belonging to the second Chernobyl zone, where old settlers live and they had a chance to communicate with them. During the visit, the group got acquainted in more detail with SOCMED program activities in Ukraine, members of the group visited families in Pakul and Mnev area, they participated in the meeting of the "Mother and Child" club and also visited the orphanage in the city of Slavutych. It was an opportunity to communicate with the families, residents of the city of Slavutych, nuclear power plant workers and liquidators of the Chernobyl accident.

The city administration of Slavutych, represented by Mayor Yuriy Fomichev noted the awards and thanked Green Cross. Medals for the cooperation and help in the solution of social problems of families living in Chernobyl-affected areas have been officially handed over and presented to the President of Green Cross Switzerland Martin Baumle, Executive Director of Green Cross Switzerland Nathalie Gysi, Director of the International Socmed Program Maria Vitagliano, as well as the President of Green Cross Ukraine Maxim Timoshenko. On behalf of the Head of the Department the Executive Committee of Slavutych City Council on Information Management and E-Governance thanked Green Cross for long-term cooperation and support. Veterans and the liquidators of the Chernobyl accident awarded a certificate and a commemorative book about Slavutich to GCU Executive Director Yuriy Sapiga and thanked for the help and support and for long-term cooperation. During a meeting with veterans and liquidators Maria Vitagliano emphasized the importance of heroic dead and expressed her appreciation for all done by the heroes in those first days and months after the accident. Chernobyl related challenges remain topical and it is critical paying further attention, showing commitment and being involved by many stakeholders in the future.

Successful activity of Green Cross in Ukraine is possible thanks to great work of the Team, as well as close cooperation with partners from GCCH and GCI and local authorities. We express our appreciation to each member of the group, which this year came to visit Ukraine and joined people in Ukraine in those days of commemoration of victims suffered from radiation accidents and catastrophes. Special thanks to the partners from the Department of International Cooperation and Information of the SSE Chernobyl NPP for their efforts and valuable support.

We hope that such a calamity and disaster, which occurred in Ukraine is no longer happen on Earth.

 

Dmitry Sapiga

GCU Information and Technical Support

 

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