“Nuclear nightmares have no end. We are rolling the dice…we need to act on peace now, before it’s too late.” – Adi Roche.
Today, ‘United Nations Chernobyl Remembrance Day’ will be quietly commemorated worldwide despite an ominous nuclear threat lingering, as a result of the war in Ukraine. This date is traditionally considered a day to pay respect to the victims and survivor of the World’s worst nuclear disaster of all time, however it is now hoped that reflections of the ongoing impact and nuclear horrors of Chernobyl will act as a catalyst for peace. Chernobyl re-entered ‘centre stage’ for all the wrong reasons on 24 February 2022 as news of the Russian invasion of Ukraine told of troop movement via the world most toxic environment…the dreaded ‘Chernobyl Exclusion Zone’, re-releasing deeply buried toxic radioactive elements into the environment.
Adi Roche of the Chernobyl Children International (CCI) charity, who pioneered this day of commemoration at the United Nations in 2016, is calling for diplomatic measures to be urgently taken in the hopes of brokering peace as the intensifying nuclear threat is putting the world on the precipice of a ‘humanitarian Armageddon’.
“Today let us rewrite the narrative of this war to one of peace. Every day that peace is denied, we are rolling a dice. If we allow this to continue, one day our luck will run out. We are sleepwalking humanity into a wider war and potential humanitarian Armageddon with our eyes, but wide open. With this weaponising of Nuclear Power, we cannot stress enough the risk that Chernobyl and now Zaporizhzhia poses. If we remain silent…we are playing with a loaded gun.
” Roche stated.
Roche’s call for peace comes as the situation at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, Zaporizhzhia, becomes increasingly volatile and unpredictable, as it is an active combat zone. The plant, which was the second to be occupied after Chernobyl, has reported further explosions at nuclear facility in recent weeks, and the UN Nuclear Watchdog has exclaimed that ‘time is running out’.
“Nuclear nightmares have no end. We need to act on peace now, before it’s too late. Any use of nuclear weapons, or targeting of power plants, needs to be stopped immediately. As we learned from Hiroshima, Nagaskai and Chernobyl when we have no regard for consequences, can only lead to one, devastating outcome. ”, Roche continued.
Since the beginning of the war and the invasion of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in February 2022, CCI have been advocating for all nuclear facilities be deemed a ‘No War Zone’ and for World Leaders to invoke the Hague Convention which defines any attack on a nuclear facility to be a ‘war crime’.
CCI had the infrastructure to immediately respond in the Chernobyl regions affected by the war, nimbly and quickly. The charity were not only able to continue programmes, but also expanded them, while targeting areas of unique need in Ukraine. This included moving their life-saving Cardiac programme cross country from East to West and supporting mental health of child victims of war crimes in the Chernobyl zone, as they had experience in mitigating child trauma already. CCI’s International Cardiac Mission landed in Lviv, Ukraine in advance of the day of remembrance, saving the lives of babies as young as 4 hours old.