Jane Hines from the charity 'Friends of the children of Chernobyl' gave a very interesting and moving account of the charity's work in helping the children of Chernobyl. The chidren have chronic health problems due to their living conditions and the environment which continues to be seriously affected by the fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear plant explosion in 1986.
The Monmouthshire branch of the charity brings approximately
10 children, between 6 and 14 years of age, to Wales for four weeks every year on a 5 year rolling programme so they can enjoy fresh air and a healthy diet to help improve their immune system and general health. The children stay with host families in the Raglan area.
They receive basic dental and other treatments. They are taken out on trips to the countryside and the seaside (Belarus is landlocked!). They have the opportunity to play with local children and experience their western toys and electronic games which are not available to them in their own country. They are given clothing, vitamins and other useful items to take home with them. The children come from around the town of Mogilev in south east Belarus.
Next year (2012), the children will be coming over on the 22nd June until the 20th July.
The charity raises funds by holding events and the support of communities such as schools. The money raised principally covers the cost of flights and other travel costs. The Group has no paid employees.
We were very happy to make a donation of £3,000 to Jane Hines towards the costs of helping the charity to help these children.
The nuclear plant in Chernobyl was running tests in April 1986. The cooling system was shut down. The plant exploded releasing high levels of radiation into the atmosphere.
On the 18th May 1986 the radiation cloud reached the U.K, some 18 days after the event. 127 firefighters lost their lives in trying to contain the effects.
22% of the farmland in Belarus was contaminated and lost to future use.
There have been 4,000 cases of thyroid cancer in the area in the 20 years after the disaster.
Between 1991 and 2005, 5,127 cases have been reported in children of 14 years and younger. Between 1991 and 1995 the rate rose dramatically in children 10 years old and under.
It is estimated that there will be between 18,000 and 66,000 cases in future.