The legacy of Chernobyl – part 1

Cher_heart_poster_194 Kathy Ryan, of the Chernobyl Children’s Project International (CCPI) opened my eyes to the lasting legacy of Chernobyl.

Many children are being born every day with genetic defects in the areas around Chernobyl. This is also the area that has been hardest hit financially. Once the bread basket of Eastern Europe, this radiation- contaminated region has been brought to its knees economically.

"In the city of Gomel, fifty miles from Chernobyl, only 15 to 20% of the babies are born healthy", from a Russian doctor interviewed in the film, Chernobyl Heart.

The incidence of thyroid cancer is 10,000 times what is was before the Chernobyl incident. According to another interview I watched, genetic damage is still increasing.

The high levels of radiation produce both physical and mental damage. I saw a five-year-old child the size of a four month old baby and other children whose deformities beggar description. These children are being given improved care and better living conditions through the efforts of Chernobyl Children’s Project International.

Chernobyl Children’s Project International started in Ireland and most of the work is done by dedicated doctors and building professionals who volunteer their time to rebuild orphanages and operate on sick children who have no hope otherwise.

If you can get HBO on Demand, see Chernobyl Heart. This is an incredibly moving documentary and it is only available until March 13. The care Adi Roche, Founder and Director of CCP International, showed for these children brought tears to my eyes.

Watching the surgeon, who performed a heart operation on a little girl, try to cope with the gratitude of the girl’s parents was an education in itself.

There is a great deal more to tell about this organization and its work. I will be covering it in future posts. Meanwhile, you should visit their sites.

One very important point:
Although this organization works with the United Nations and has achieved official United Nations NGO status, it does not share the shabby reputation that the UN has earned for itself around the world.

These people actually do something to help. Check them out.

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