The Chernobyl Greater Cause

The Greater Chernobyl Cause

News Archive

The Greater Chernobyl Cause and its work has featured prominently in both regional, national and international publications over recent years.

09/04/11
Cork Charity Pleads for more support as Chernobyl Anniversary Dawns

 

As the 25th anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear disaster approaches, the leader of a Cork-based charity is appealing for more help for long term victims of the tragedy.
 

Fiona Corcoran, Director of the Greater Chernobyl Cause, has just returned from an emotive first visit to the site, close to the Ukraine-Belarus border, where in the early hours of 26 April, 1986, a reckless safety test led to a mighty explosion and fire.
 

Estimates of deaths directly attributable to the disaster vary from four thousand to well over a hundred thousand and doctors have expressed their concern about an increase in cancers and blood diseases among a new generation of children living on the edge of the strictly imposed exclusion zones.
 

‘Standing there at the 30 kilometre checkpoint, I was surprised at just how beautiful and pristine the countryside looked with wild horses roaming on the plains but then I had to remind myself that everywhere around there was an invisible enemy – radiation – which is the creator of death, serious illnesses and deformities.’
 

At the site of the disaster, Reactor No4 now lies eerily silent … so too, the other three reactors, as work continues on decommissioning and on replacing a crumbling and leaking sarcophagus built to contain tons of radioactive dust and debris. The replacement shelter being constructed by a French-led consortium will be the largest mobile structure in the world. It will be wheeled over the sarcophagus and is designed to last a hundred years.
 

Equally shocking, for the charity chief, was her visit to the now deserted and ghostly city of Pripyat which had been built to house many of the plant’s workers and their families. In all, 50,000 people were evacuated. Told they would be returning in a few days, they left all their possessions behind. In one school classroom, Fiona found the pencils and jotters pupils had been using on the day before the explosion.
 

‘Government officials were totally irresponsible,’ she asserted. ‘They allowed the children to go outside when rain was falling from the sky and knowing that the land was contaminated.’
 

Later, Fiona was introduced to local fireman, Boris Alishaev, who was one of the first on the scene and with his colleagues struggled against impossible odds to try to contain the disaster. Most of them are now dead. He feels fortunate to have survived but abandoned by a state his team fought hard to protect.
 

‘We had hoped that we’d get some benefits from the Government,’ he told Fiona, ‘but they’re not interested. In Ukraine, you have to pay for medical treatment and it’s very expensive. Our salaries are much too small.’
 

The Greater Chernobyl Cause’s main emphasis is on providing help and life saving medical equipment for the long term victims of the disaster and the growing number of children who are being diagnosed with cancer, leukaemia and acute respiratory infections. Many of them come from contaminated areas on the edge of the exclusion zones. In the city of Malin, paediatrician Victoria Bakhlanova declared that every third child now has anaemia, low haemoglobin or some sort of immunodeficiency.
 

The charity has also promised to help a children’s rehabilitation centre and the Radiological Hospital in Kiev where hundreds of patients are clamouring to be seen every day. Their hopes rest on more modern equipment to deal with cancers and other illnesses. Already, the Greater Chernobyl Cause has donated a portable ultra-sound but so much more is needed.
 

In a rallying cry, Director Fiona Corcoran says ‘I am appealing once again to the Irish tradition of spontaneous giving, even in these hard economic times here at home. Our work with the Chernobyl children must continue. Our next aid delivery will include hospital beds, medical equipment, clothes, educational materials, toys, washing machines and walking frames – everything you can think of. If you haven’t considered making a financial donation before, then I would urge you to do so now so that more young lives can be saved.’
 

Donations can be made on line at the charity website: www.greaterchernobylcause.ie or you can send it to us at : Unit 2, Southside Industrial Estate, Pouladull Road, Togher, Cork.
 

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For all press details please call Fiona Corcoran on 087 9536133
 

If you would like to help The Greater Chernobyl Cause’s work in Ukraine then please send your donation to:
 

The Greater Chernobyl Cause Unit 4, Southside Industrial Estate Pouladuff Road, Togher, Cork
 

PH 021 4323276  Mob 087 9536133
 

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