Children from Belarus affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster arrive in Cork for a holiday with Irish families.
120 children arrive in Cork city to music from Saint Mary’s Pipe Band and a salute from the Scouts. The children are here to spend a month on a holiday with Irish families organised by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and the Cork Youth Association. Fresh air, fun and new experiences will provide a welcome respite from living with the effects of illness caused by nuclear fallout. As this host mother says,
The beach, crab fishing and just plain childish things. Children are great for communicating.
Ireland is a beacon of hope for these children, as Elena Dmitrieva from Belarus explains,
These children came from the most contaminated areas, that’s why they’re so seriously ill. And if compare the results of Hiroshima and Chernobyl, it means that one Chernobyl, it’s ten Hiroshimas.
The worst disaster in the history of nuclear power generation occurred on 25 – 26 April 1986 at the Chernobyl nuclear power station in Ukraine, which at that time was part of the Soviet Union. Neighbouring Belarus was the most badly affected region, with many children going on to develop childhood cancers such as leukaemia.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 28 June 1993. The reporter is Tom MacSweeney.