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Dublin: 8 °C Saturday 29 February, 2020
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Children from Chernobyl to arrive in Ireland today for rest and recuperation

The children travel to Ireland every year to stay with Irish families during the summer months.

Ali Hewson joined Adi Roche in Dublin Airport in 2011 to give a warm welcome to children arriving from the heart of the Chernobyl regions.
Ali Hewson joined Adi Roche in Dublin Airport in 2011 to give a warm welcome to children arriving from the heart of the Chernobyl regions.
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

CHILDREN FROM CHERNOBYL are due to arrive in Ireland this morning and will be hosted by Irish families for the next month.

The children come from impoverished backgrounds, institutions and foster homes in the heart of the contaminated Chernobyl zone.

The children travel to Ireland every year to live with Irish families as part Chernobyl Children International’s (CCI) annual airlift which allows the children to relax and recuperate during the summer months.

During their stay in Ireland, the children will gain respite from the high levels of radiation to which they continue to be exposed as a result of the Chernobyl explosion.

Dangerous time 

The summer is a particularly dangerous time in the Chernobyl regions as the intense heat contributes to the redistribution of radioactive materials.

The CCI said that the newest threat the children face is a forest fire as forests around the nuclear plant are only decaying at a rate of 40 per cent due to the lack of living organisms such as bacteria, worms and insects whose job it is to feed on dead organisms.

The greatest concern is that should the trees catch fire, radioactive material would spread beyond the off limits zone to the 1000 square-miles around the decommissioned facility located 68 miles north of Kiev.

Adi Roche, voluntary CEO, CCI, said that despite the difficult economic circumstances many families find themselves in Ireland, the volunteers continue to “open their hearts and their homes this summer to children who so desperately need our help”.

She said she had enormous gratitude to the volunteers who continue to take part every year.

“While the Chernobyl accident happened almost 30 years ago the consequences last forever. My heartfelt gratitude to the volunteers who offer hope to live to the children who the world has largely forgotten.”

Since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, over 24,700 children have benefited under the scheme where the children spend a month in Ireland.

The children are due to fly into Shannon Airport this morning on the 11.35am flight from Minsk.

Read: Parents of newborn baby thank Ireland after Irish-funded operation saves their son>

Read: 28 years on and the struggle continues for those affected by the world’s biggest nuclear disaster>

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