‘Chernobyl is forever – it is the past, present and future’


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Adi Roche recalls the horrors of Chernobyl in Buncrana

By Katie Barr

THIRTY years after 190 tonnes of highly radioactive material spewed up into the earth’s atmosphere in Chernobyl, generations of children are still feeling and suffering from the horrific side affects today.

Hundreds of thousands of children are being born with genetic defects, heart conditions and immune diseases in Chernobyl and Belarus after a Nuclear Power Plant exploded.

Founder of Chernobyl Children International, Adi Roche says they have no idea yet, even thirty years later what the true extent of the disaster has been.

Speaking to the ‘Inishowen Independent’ during a trip to Buncrana last weekend, Adi says the impact of Chernobyl is like the ‘genie is out the bottle’.

“We can never undo the damage this is caused to the land or in human beings,” said Adi.

“It can take a long time for the illnesses or birth defects to become evident – it’s so unpredictable. We are constantly on alert and taking precautions. No one has that crystal ball and nobody knows the extent of this.

“They say 80 per cent of the child population of Belarus are deemed to be affected by Chernobyl. Nobody knows if it is this generation or generations to come.

Adi says their slogan is ‘Chernobyl is forever’.

“We have no idea how long this will last for – 30 years is nothing in the lifespan of radioactive waste. Our slogan is Chernobyl is forever – there is no curing it – it is past, it’s present and it’s future.”

However one thing they do know is that for every month they spend in a clean environment like Inishowen, two years are added onto their short lives.

Currently there are four children from Belarus staying with families in Inishowen, with many more staying across the border in Derry. Adi says this is invaluable for the children’s future.

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Donna Roddy