Humanitarian Adi Roche is to make a landmark address to the UN General Assembly in New York to mark the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster the week after next.
In an unprecedented move, the Belarusian government is to provide speaking time to Ms Roche, the voluntary CEO and founder of Chernobyl Children International (CCI), in recognition of CCI and Ireland’s role helping the victims of the accident.
It is the first time an NGO has been given a country’s allocated speaking time at the assembly. CCI is the only UN-recognised NGO working in the Chernobyl-affected areas.
Ms Roche will appeal for ongoing global support for the ‘liquidators’ whose heroism containing the fire and radiation in the crippled power plant saved Europe from a nuclear catastrophe.
She will also press for the speedy completion of the €1.5bn sarcophagus which is being built to make Chernobyl safe for the next 100 years.
Ireland has contributed €8m towards the massive international construction project which has been beset by delays.
“On this, the 30th anniversary of the worst nuclear disaster in history, it is a chilling reminder that the effects of this catastrophic nuclear accident are far from over. The radioactive contamination is still having an adverse effect on the lives and health of the people of the Chernobyl regions. For many people 30 years ago is like reading ancient history, however for the victims it remains an unfolding tragedy,” she said.
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