UN remembers victims of 1986 Chernobyl nuclear explosion

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A helicopter approaches the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant to check the damage to the nuclear reactor. April 1986. UN Photo/IAEA

The United Nations commemorated the International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day on Wednesday, recalling the devastating Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant explosion in 1986.

Radioactive material was spewed into an area stretching 155,000 square kilometres across Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.

An estimated 8.4 million people across four countries were exposed to radiation, including the 600,000 so-called "liquidators" who were involved in fire-fighting and clean-up operations.

Jocelyne Sambira reports.

The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution in December last year designating 26 April as the International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day, calling on countries to strengthen international cooperation to address and mitigate the consequences of the explosion.

Some agricultural areas covering nearly 52,000 square kilometres were contaminated with radioactive material that linger in the body and in the environment.

Nearly 400,000 people were resettled, but millions continued to live in an environment exposed to radioactive decay that takes many decades and centuries for the material to become inert fully.

UN efforts to aid the recovery from the disaster started in 1990.

More than 230 different research and assistance projects in the fields of health, nuclear safety, rehabilitation, environment, production of clean foods and information, have been launched since then.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 55”


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