Last night, The United Nations responded to a passionate appeal made earlier this year by Adi Roche, founder of Chernobyl Children International charity, to have the 26th April each year designated as ‘International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day’.
On April 26th this year – the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl accident – Adi Roche, at the invitation of the Government of Belarus, addressed a special session of the UN General Assembly and made the suggestion that, as part of a campaign to raise global awareness of the consequences of the explosion, April 26th should be designated as Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day.
She also appealed to the international community to provide more financial assistance to help the thousands of “Liquidators” – the soldiers, helicopter pilots, scientists, engineers and firemen who were drafted in to try to contain the spread of deadly radioactivity across Europe. The proposal was supported by Belarusian Government and last night was formally accepted by the UN General Assembly.
Reacting to the decision Adi Roche said “This UN decision is of enormous significance on a Global scale. These developments are the culmination of 30 years’ advocacy work. It has huge significance – reminding the victims of Chernobyl that they will not be forgotten, that Chernobyl, is not a past event – it an unfolding tragedy, Chernobyl is forever. Yesterday’s developments will help ensure that the Global Consciousness surrounding Chernobyl will never falter.”
Speaking at the UN General Assembly on the 30th Anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, Adi
Roche called the UN to take further action to recognise the Chernobyl disaster and the people it affected;
“I respectfully propose that this day, the 26th of April, be pledged and designated as an official United Nations “Chernobyl Day” – a day that would always be honoured and commemorated. A day for renewal and recommitment to discover new means, new initiatives to alleviate further the suffering of the people in the affected stricken lands.”
Chernobyl Children International welcome these recent developments. While only 3% of the radioactive material was released at the time of the accident in 1986, Chernobyl released 200 times that of the combined releases from the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 5.5 million people across Belarus, Ukraine and Western Russia – including more than a million children – continue to live in contaminated zones. Continuous low dose exposure through the food chain remains a huge risk for these populations as some areas of land will be radioactive for over 24,000 years