Oxhill News

www.oxhill.com / www.oxhill.org.uk

South Warwickshire, England.

The Oxhill News

May 2005


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Chernobyl's Children

Outline of Belarus and the Chernobyl Disaster

The Republic of Belarus, the capital of which is Minsk, is west of Russia, east of Poland, and north of the Ukraine where Chernobyl is actually situated.  The nuclear plant is in the very north of the Ukraine and only 17 kms. from the Ukraine/Belarus border.

When the Chernobyl nuclear reactor exploded on 26th April 1986, over 190 tons of highly radioactive uranium and graphite were expelled into the atmosphere. Because of the wind direction, the country of Belarus received over 70% of the radioactive fall-out.  For 8 days after the accident Iodine-131 was breathed and consumed in food by the whole Belarussian population.  Rain in the immediate days after the explosion ensured that the area of Mogilev was especially badly affected.

Aims of the Charity

The Charity was formed in 1996 in order to provide relief and recuperative care for children who live in conditions of poverty, hardship or distress following the Chernobyl disaster.

We bring 7-11 year old children over to Britain from Mogilev for at least one month recuperative care per year and the charity meets the full cost of these visits which include optical, dental and medical check ups.  Wherever possible we bring back the same children annually and ongoing research by doctors both in Russia and the USA shows that this boosts the battered immune systems of the children and is increasing their life expectancy by at least two years.  The children are placed for the month with volunteer families who generously give up their homes and time for the month (without recompense).  As well as health checks, they partake in a programme of events including swimming, horse riding, visits to farms, schools etc.

Because of the lack of money, most families cannot afford to buy food that has been imported from non-contaminated countries such as Poland and Moldova and so they only eat radiated food.  Pork and chicken are the most widely eaten meats, but again the livestock is fed contaminated feed and so the cycle continues.  Mothers have been asked how they can justify giving their children contaminated food.  The answer is simple.  The mother does not have a choice.  Their child either eats it or starves to death.

The cost of bringing a child to England is increasing year on year; at present it is 350.  This includes air transportation / licence costs in Belarus, documentation arrangements and transportation costs to and from Gatwick airport.  Funding to bring the children to England is by fund-raising events and by donations.  Each year we try to bring out ten children plus the requisite two teachers/interpreters.  The group always arrives mid October and returns home mid November.

Christine Barnett, (Group Co-ordinator)

This site is maintained by villagers of Oxhill for the benefit of the community and those interested in the history, news and activities that make the village such a pleasant place to live.

Send mail to the editor of the Oxhill News at news-editor @ oxhill.org.uk.

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Last modified: May 10, 2005