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News: 1 Feb 2023

UKRAINE: As ‘Doomsday Clock’ moves the closest it’s ever been to midnight, Irish charity warns of risk of worldwide ‘humanitarian armageddon’

1 Feb 2023

• “We cannot overstate the current critical situation and nuclear threat in Ukraine. If we remain silent, we are playing with a loaded gun.” – Adi Roche.

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists have moved the ‘Doomsday Clock’ to 90 seconds to Midnight, the closest it has ever been since 1945, citing war in Ukraine as a key reason why humanity is in a time of ‘unprecedented danger’.

Founded by Albert Einstein and University of Chicago scientists who developed the first atomic weapons, the Clock is a universally recognised indicator of the world’s profound vulnerability to nuclear weapons, climate change and disruptive technologies. The closer to midnight the Clock is set, the greater the existential danger.

Speaking in response to the development this week, Adi Roche of Chernobyl Children International (CCI) expressed grave concern at the increasingly precarious situation in Ukraine and the nuclear threat;

“We are on the precipice of a humanitarian armageddon. As we learned from Hiroshima, Nagaskai and Chernobyl when we have no regard for consequences, it can only lead to one, devastating outcome. There would be no opportunity to evacuate the warzone if a nuclear accident occurs.”

“This movement of the ‘Doomsday Clock will hopefully be a wake-up-call and a pre-curser for discussions of peace. Without eliminating the nuclear threat, there can be no peace. There can be no trust. There can be no sustainable future. With the continued occupation and escalating crisis at Zaporizhia, we are on a knife-edge. It is an untenable situation as the risk of a nuclear explosion, by accident or design, is dangerously high”, 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.

Adi Roche, who founded CCI and leads its response as Voluntary CEO, has been working to relieve the devastation of the Chernobyl accident in the region since 1986 and has delivered over €107million worth of humanitarian aid to the region.