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Chernobyl: April 26th, 1986 is a place and date we shall always remember. The massive explosions and graphite inferno which lasted for 10 days resulted in very large amounts of radioactive matter being spread across almost all of Europe, and in thousands of square kilometres becoming uninhabitable … for centuries … The highest contamination levels were in the two countries nearest the nuclear plant, Belarus  and Ukraine.

Even now, over 30 years later, official warnings against eating wild foods contaminated by Chernobyl’s fallout still exist in these countries. But the worst consequences of this tragedy are the thousands of thyroid cancers and leukemia in Ukraine and Belarus, and the tens of thousands more predicted cancers of all types over the next 50 or 60 years. These, together with the vast areas of radioactively contaminated and uninhabitable land, and the humanitarian crises which afflicted Ukraine and Belarus shows that a worst-case nuclear disaster really can (and did) happen.

Thousands of people in Ukraine and Belarus lost everything they held dear in life. Until 26th April 1986, we had not been able to imagine a large-scale nuclear incident and its ramifications for us humans and for the world we live in. What was previously inconceivable and unfathomable, caught up with millions of people in Ukraine and Belarus.

It was against this backdrop that Chernobyl Children's Lifeline was founded by Victor Mizzi OBE in 1992. To date we have brought over 45,000 children to the UK for respite and recuperation holidays as well as supporting and funding numerous welfare projects in Belarus and Ukraine. Through our Family Support Project we also help over one thousand needy families in Belarus and Ukraine.