Message from the Government of Ukraine to the World Community and to countrymen living beyond the borders of Ukraine on the 10th Anniversary of the Choronobyl Catastrophe.
Today marks the very sorrowful anniversary of the Chornobyl catastrophe. The disaster occurred in the early hours of the 26th of April ten years ago, not far from the ancient Ukrainian city of Chornobyl. It is a disaster that shall always remain in the memory of humanity as a warning that technological progress can bring severe consequences. Humanity had never before known an ecological catastrophe of such magnitude.
In these days of commemoration we wish to direct the attention of all Ukrainians as well as that of the world community to the suffering of three million one hundred thousand people who where exposed to and are living with the effects of radiation as a result of Chornobyl. Among them are those, who stood to protect the world from this terrible disaster risking their health and their lives. We bow before them.
In the last four years we have seen their health significantly deteriorate. The number of those who remain healthy has decreased by half, and in the areas which were effected by contamination there is a significant increase of thyroid cancer among children.
In spite of the difficult economic conditions in Ukraine, the Ukrainian government has committed extensive funding for the rehabilitation of the environment and care for its suffering population. Annually, this sum exceeds 10% of the national budget. This however, has not been enough. Due to lack of finances there are still 5500 families living in the zone of required evacuation. More then 1100 of them have children. Eight thousand three hundred families of clean-up workers and invalids still wait to receive permanent residences. How long can we owe such a debt to those people who stood to protect the world from the radiation?
As a nation, which has felt, first hand the tragedy of a nuclear catastrophe, Ukraine, understands the concerns of the world community regarding the continued utilization of the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant. As a result, Ukraine has adopted a political decision to shut down the plant by the year 2000, and everything possible is being done to expedite this with the necessary consideration of maintaining safety standards through each phase of the process.
The shut down of the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant, requires a series of preparatory measures and projects including the stabilization of energy production, the compensation of energy from alternative sources equivalent to the output of the currently utilized reactors, the building of a disposal facility for nuclear fuel and radioactive waste, the resolution of the problem of "containment" of the damaged reactor and then it's stabilization into an ecologically safe system.
However, due to the economic and energy crisis we are experiencing Ukraine can not shut down the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Station utilizing only Ukrainian resources, and is counting on the support and assistance of the world community.
Unfortunately, due to many reasons in the nine years since the Choronobyl accident it has not been possible to create an effective system to systematically study and analyze all of the consequences of the accident. Consequently, Ukraine invites the International Community to create an International research-technology center to study the after effects of nuclear accidents and radiation. This would serve the entire world.
The government of Ukraine has a great desire to make the fate and life of the Chornobyl effected population easier and is depending on full commitment, cooperation and effort on the part of all ministries, government agencies, the autonomous government of Crimea, all Ukrainian companies and private enterprises. It is expected that companies, their administrations and management be aware of and sympathetic to the problems of those who participated in the cleanup of Chornobyl and those who were evacuated. Specific consideration must be made for the Chornobyl cleanup workers who lost their health and have become invalids, their families, as well as those families who have suffered irreparable losses.
All ministries, government agencies, administrations, regional and cities' governments and those on all levels should have specific plans to follow this humanitarian goal.
We would like to believe that our appeal will also be heard by the leaders of commercial structures, banks, private enterprises, foundations and funds, and that they will make charitable donations for this just cause.
We appeal also to our fellow countrymen living beyond our borders, and to all people everywhere who understand suffering and pain. Reach out to your coworkers, your family and friends and support this humanitarian cause.
The government of Ukraine pledges to utilize all charitable donations according to the wishes of the donors. We pledge to maintain stringent controls over administering the funds, with a commitment to keep the public informed.
Issued April 26, 1996
Donations should be made to " Fund for Chornobyl Victims" and a purpose for its use may be specifically stated.
For more information contact:
The 10th Anniversary Committee of Ukraine
Special Accounts have been set up to accept donations:
HTML by Chris Cochems. Last updated 11/25/98.