Adi Roche ‘deeply concerned’ over rising levels of radioactivity in Chernobyl region

Chernobyl Children International says citizens in the region, recently liberated, now face another threat in the form of radiation levels
Adi Roche ‘deeply concerned’ over rising levels of radioactivity in Chernobyl region

Founder of Chernobyl Children International Adi Roche has said she is “deeply concerned” over reports of rising levels of radioactivity in the Chernobyl region of Ukraine as a result of military activity.

The Irish charity said citizens in the region of Ivankiv - near Chernobyl and north of Kyiv - were recently liberated by the Ukrainian Army, having been occupied by Russian troops since the first days of the war.

However, they now face another threat in the form of spiralling radiation levels.

Emerging from bunkers after nearly five weeks, scientists have discovered an “alarming rise” in radiation, leaving populations “at an extremely high risk of being contaminated” due to inhaling, ingesting, and drinking radioactive water.

Ms Roche said: “While we are pleased that Russian troops have left the Chernobyl region, we are deeply concerned about the rising levels of radioactivity due to the military invasion, and it is further evidence that all nuclear facilities and surrounding lands should be deemed a ‘No War Zone’.

“Any disturbance of radioactive material is lethal, as it re-releases radioactivity into the atmosphere, which has now unfortunately been confirmed by Professor Bandazhevsky.”

According to scientist Professor Yuri Bandazhevsky, disturbance of the area has led to soaring levels of radioactive long-lived radionuclides (Caesium-137, Strontium-90, Americium-241) on the bodies and clothing of children and adults in the region.

Prof Bandazhevsky has called for “an immediate evacuation of the most vulnerable”.

Radiation sickness

The Chernobyl reactor and exclusion zone were taken over by Russian troops on February 24th. Chernobyl Children International claims troops have departed “due to radiation sickness.”

“Reports state that troops entered the nearby radioactive forest (known as the ‘Red Forest’) without any respiratory protection to dig trenches, despite warnings from Chernobyl staff, and are now suffering from radiation sickness,” the charity said.

With Ivankiv under occupation since the start of the war in Ukraine, over 300,000 citizens were trapped without food, water, and medical supplies.

Chernobyl Children International said it had been “frantically” trying to get much needed humanitarian aid into the region for the past number of weeks, following an urgent plea for help.

“I was very distressed by the message I received from my dear friend and colleague who is based in Ukraine,” said Ms Roche.

“He managed to contact me directly and in a very distraught voice he said: ‘We don’t want your love, your compassion, your solidarity… we want water, food or else many people will die… they will die not from a bullet or a bomb but from dehydration and starvation.’”

She continued: “After this desperate plea, I felt compelled to do everything in my power to get aid into the region. I am delighted to confirm that we succeeded in getting the aid delivered, and with the news that the region has now been liberated, it’s just a shard of light, amid the ongoing invasion”.

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