Latest Posts

News: 24 Jul 2023

An Appeal to save the Ivankiv region of being declassified – Adi Roche

24 Jul 2023

To The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and SAUEZM (State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management)

As a person who has dedicated my life’s work to the people affected by the Chernobyl disaster, I wish to raise grave concerns with the draft Resolution which would declassify the Ivankiv region, Ukraine as a Chernobyl affected territory. The Resolution I am referring to is the one issued by the State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management (SAUEZM) titled “On approval of the list of settlements classified as radioactive contamination zones due to the Chernobyl disaster, and the recognition of some acts of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine”.

The timing of this proposal in the midst of war, aligned with the lack of consultation with impartial scientific and environmental experts, is a matter of great concern. In addition to this, the lack of public consultation is a cause for further concern on this matter.

In the name of the people who have been living in the dark shadow of Chernobyl for 37 years, let us not forget or hasten a decision that would re-victimise them and deny their experience of the cross-generational impact, evidenced by the research emanating from the work of the EU funded ‘Centre of Radiological Research’ in Ivankiv.

Villages in the Ivankiv region, Ukraine (20 miles from Chernobyl) have been proven as one of the most affected by the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster, directly bordering on the ‘Chernobyl Exclusion Zone’. Almost all residents of the community have the status of victims of the Chernobyl disaster, due to the deeply embedded radiation that has been locked into the land. Over the years since the Chernobyl accident, the radiological situation in the territory of Ivankiv has not improved, with the cross-generational impact still very prevalent, three generations after the Chernobyl accident.

In fact, the situation has deteriorated even further since the war.

Ivankiv was the first region to be occupied after the Russian invasion and when the people emerged from bunkers after 5 weeks of occupation, scientists discovered a rise in radiation following the military activity in the Chernobyl region. The disturbance of the soil from tanks, troops and shelling has led to elevated levels of radioactive long-lived radionuclides (Caesium 137, Strontium 90 and Americium 241) on the clothing and bodies of people in this highly populated area of Chernobyl, along with increased levels in farmland.

It is with this in mind that I, my colleagues and supporters in Ireland request SAUEZM to postpone any deliberation about the reclassification of Ivankiv territories until the end of the war, out of concern and respect for the people in the Chernobyl region and the environmental impact. I raise the timing issue again in the knowledge that the monitoring capacity is greatly reduced, as equipment in the zone was largely damaged and compromised by occupying Russian forces in 2022.

I am also asking that people with relevant expertise on scientific and environmental matters are consulted in a transparent way before any decisions are taken.

The ‘war’ that has been waged by Chernobyl is a silent, invisible and deadly one. No smell, no sight, nothing to forewarn you of danger. This invisible ‘enemy’ permeates every aspect of the cycle of life from which there is no ‘emergency exit.’ Yet it beats in the hearts of every innocent man, woman and child, in all living things. The proposed Resolution not only has serious potential health and social consequences, but also will have a disastrous environmental impact. Chernobyl may seem to many to be a historic event, however for those living in its dark shadow, it remains an unfolding tragedy, which is why we must delay this decision until after the war.

Yours sincerely
Adi Roche