Ireland has not forgotten them: 145 Chernobyl children arrive in Ireland for respite

Adi Roche pictured with 14-year-old Nikita Dudko who is coming to Ireland for the first time. Pic: Brian Gavin Press 22

A group of 145 children affected by the Chernobyl disaster will arrive in Ireland today.

They will be greeted at Shannon Airport by host families, who will look after them for a month-long rest and recuperation holiday.

The children are from the area devastated by the nuclear disaster in Belarus in 1986.

Adi Roche from Chernobyl Children International says the children really benefit from the trip here.

"The children's health improves by removing them from the toxic environment in which they're sleeping, eating and breathing and this has been made possible by the generosity of the people of Ireland who - despite our own problems - we are still reaching out to these children 32 years later saying that they are not forgotten," said Ms Roche.

She says the holiday is needed more than ever this year.

"There's been an uncontrollable cocktail of radioactive elements that are being re-released into the environment from these forest fires because of the intensity and the heat of the summer.

"And that is putting the radioactivity back into the food chain.

"So it is really, really timely that we are bring the children to the safety, the security and the beauty of nuclear-free Ireland."

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