CHERNOBYL AND ITS LEGACY
The Soviet government attempted to cover up the incident, however following a great deal of international pressure the full horror of the incident was slowly released.
A huge area around the plant was devastated by the explosion and the ensuing radioactive contamination spread over the neighbouring countries.
To this day there is little growing where once agriculture was the main occupation of the common man. Further afield cattle still graze on contaminated land thus causing the population to be continuously exposed to radiation via the food chain.
As part of the former Soviet Union, Belarus lies in the shadow of Chernobyl, the southern border being only 15 kilometres from the plant. The wind direction on the day of the disaster caused the majority of the fallout to be directed towards the Belarusian cities of Gomel and Mogilev. Of the radiation that was released by Chernobyl, over 70% fell onto the population of Belarus resulting in 800,000 children in Belarus and 380,000 in Ukraine being at a high risk of contracting cancer or leukaemia.
It will be another 24,000 years before the land is safe to grow food free from contamination. The innocent children of Belarus are the victims of this nuclear catastrophe and its legacy of radioactive contamination.
Chernobyl, an Environmental Disaster
Chernobyl lies 80 miles north of Kiev in Northern Ukraine.
On the 26 April 1986 the No 4 reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power station overheated, exploded, then went in to meltdown.
This was the world's worst nuclear accident and released 190 tons of highly radioactive waste material into the atmosphere exposing the people of Chernobyl to radioactivity many times greater than that from the explosion of the Hiroshima atomic bomb.