Wednesday, May 25th, 2016
Belarus
What Happened? PDF Print E-mail

20 years ago, on April 26th, 1986, the world’s worst nuclear accident occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant in the Northern Ukraine. One of the hardest hit regions hit by the nuclear explosion was the country of Belarus. The day of the explosion, the wind was blowing north across the Ukraine. Because of that northbound current, 70% of the radioactive materials that escaped the plant at Chernobyl “rained” over the northern neighboring country of Belarus.

 
What Has Happened Since April 26, 1986? PDF Print E-mail

Belarus is 99% contaminated. The concentration of the country’s most contaminated area is known as the “exclusion zone”. Today, 20 years later, the people who live in this zone (and outside of it) continue to suffer medical, economical, environmental and social challenges. The people of Belarus have suffered long-term exposure to radiation, and the children of this disaster continue to be born with problems that include and are not limited to: Cancers, Cerebral Palsy, Genetic Mutations Cardiac Abnormalities, and General Anomalies. For more facts and information, please visit: http://www.ccp-intl.org/facts.html.

 
What Is Happening Now? PDF Print E-mail

Change is in motion, and it’s happening now. Fellow volunteers and I take our humanitarian efforts into the Vesnova Children’s Asylum. There, we are changing the way these children are viewed; hence, changing the way they are cared for. We work by practical modeling and one-on-one training to facilitate a bond between the care workers and the children – all of us in our respective fields: occupational & physical therapy, nursing, and my field, baby massage – which is clinically recognized as healthy attachment and bonding through nurturing and compassionate touch. We assess the needs, design a practical approach and implement a training program. Fortunately, the care workers are open and receptive. Without their cooperation, interest and commitment, our milestones would be harder to reach. Thanks to contribution dollars, we are able to deliver, not only our services, but also goods to carry out and enhance our work. Sensory tools are used to assess, stimulate, balance and broaden tactile, visual and audio sensitivities. Medical supplies are used to facilitate a higher quality of clinical care. All together, we are raising the standard of care to reduce pain, discomfort and uncertainties for the most ill of children at the asylum. It’s happening now.

 
And What For Tomorrow? PDF Print E-mail

The radiation risks will not go away – not in our lifetime or any lifetime remotely after us.  The ground, the air and the water will carry radioactive contaminants that will continue to put at risk every natural creation in Belarus. This is only the beginning of a long journey towards healing the very wounds that resulted out of what we, humans, created for what we thought was for the good of mankind.

 
How Do You Protect Yourself When You Are In Belarus? PDF Print E-mail
When in Belarus, our goal is to minimize exposure. It's impossible to avoid exposure 100%, so we do our best this way:

We take our own food - non pershishables like dried fruits, nuts, camping food, energy bars, etc...

Bottled water is brought in on convoys from Ireland and neighboring European countries, so "clean" water is available to us there. Bottled water is used for drinking, cooking, making tea/coffee, instant meals, brushing teeth and simple sponge baths.

Many of us don't shower or shower only once, and quickly. The goal is to not ingest any of the water - by mouth, eyes, ears and nose.

When we venture outside, if it's a windy day where dust and debris is being picked up by the wind, we are advised to conver our nose, mouth and eyes to reduce exposure, inhalation and ingestion of radioactive elements present in the airborne dust and debris.

If sirens should alarm us to a potential threat of nuclear activity, many of us carry postassium iodide to protect our thyroid gland - a most vulnerable gland in the body. 
 
Are there other sites that represent the people you work with in Belarus? PDF Print E-mail

Yes. The Chernobly Children's Project International (Ireland and USA) and then there is a U.S. photographer, Paul Fusco, that has put together a deeply moving narrated slideshow of photos depicting his time and experience in Belarus visiting children and families affected by the aftermath of the fallout at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Northern Ukraine.

 

Chernobyl Children's Project International - Ireland

Chernobyl Children's Project International - USA

Paul Fusco's Narrated Slideshow 

 
   
© 2016 Compassionate Child - Suzanne P. Reese