When news happens, text SDE and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Charity's plea for children of Chernobyl
A CHARITY has made a desperate plea for volunteers to help children living under the cloud of the world’s worst nuclear disaster.
Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline says the committee of residents in Southampton and Eastleigh that organised trips for youngsters has dissolved – meaning up to 30 children can no longer take a vital break from constant radiation.
Hundreds of youngsters from the Ukraine and Belarus, which were badly affected by the Chernobyl disaster, visit the UK every year for respite from the contaminated food and abject poverty that blights the countries.
The nuclear power plant at Chernobyl, Ukraine, exploded in 1986, sending deadly radioactive contamination into the atmosphere, which spread over a vast area.
Giving children from the worstaffected areas a month-long break from the radiation allows their immune systems to recover, which experts say can increase their life expectancy by two to three years.
Area co-ordinator for the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline charity, Marian Stapley, pictured, says it would make a huge difference to the children if a “link”, or branch of the charity, could be formed in the Southampton and Eastleigh areas.
The previous link had been running for around ten years.
Marian added: “We did have a link in Southampton and Eastleigh and now we have got nothing – but there’s still people that are interested in hosting children.
“It’s gone by the wayside and it’s just so sad.
“I have just come back from the Ukraine and the situation over there is heart breaking – the families are so desperate to get this respite break.
“Most of these children will go on to develop thyroid cancer or leukaemia.
“Coming over here gives them an immune system again – there’s about 80,000 children waiting for a trip.”
The charity is also facing difficulties from a change in the visa system, which will mean visas that used to be free for children affected by the disaster will cost £86 from March next year.
Marian added: “If we’re going to pay that, the number of children each link brings in every year will probably dwindle by two or three.”
To sign a petition against the changes, visit epetitions.direct.
For more information about setting up a committee in Southampton or Eastleigh to organise trips for Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline, contact Marian on 023 9278 7431 or 079 5229 0124.