UN to turn Chernobyl into tourist Mecca?

In Ukraine, a new UN report about situation around Chernobyl nuclear power station is being broadly discussed. The report proposed a radically new point of view upon the help to millions of people who turned out to live in the zone of radioactive fall-out. UN called international community to study, together with Ukraine, Russia and Byelorussia, the possibility of specialized ecological tourism, as well as of using these territories for preserving multiformity of nature. Although radiation level is still high enough almost on the whole territory of the zone, absence of people in some of its parts caused bloom of local flora and fauna. According to the report, it is still not much being done in the zone to study positive consequences of the isolation. “It sounds strangely, though over 16 years, which have passed since the tragedy, the prohibited zone became a very interesting natural object,” – Kalman Michel, official representative of the UN Development Programme said. “Normal environment has returned here, - he said at the press-conference, - this is a great and a very natural region, where there is much of wild flora and many unique animals.” The report prepared by a series of agencies under the aegis of UN shows that spite the fact that much was done to decrease radiation level, first of all social aspect of the tragedy must be stressed. According to the report, the group of 200 thousand people was especially injured which turned out to be in very bad life conditions and it needs a serious material aid. The report drew attention to ruining effect of people’s poverty and joblessness, who still live in the polluted region. In general, the report said, 7 million people receive different kinds of so-called “Chernobyl aid.” A research carried out in the zone has registered increasing of thyroid cancer cases – up to the current day 2,000 cases were registered, while new kind of cancer is expected to appear. According to some assumptions, the number of thyroid cancer patients must make 8,000 to 10,000 people. This illness is being treated, so the ill people probably will need medical assistance for the whole their life. In the analytical document of UN it is being stressed, that world community gradually loses interest in rendering financial assistance to this region, while more attention should be paid to its economical development. UN representatives stated that the time is over, when Chernobyl was regarded as a crisis zone, so assistance should be rendered to it to make it help itself. The UN Development Programme’s administrator Marc Maloh Browne said: “Wile we were regarding this zone as an emergency problem, we obviously spent all available means for it. The next step should be made on the base of self-sufficiency.” The report was prepared by the UN Development Programme and by UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) with assistance of World Health Organization of UN Office for Coordiantion of Humanitarian Affairs. For the time being, Ukrainian press is sceptically estimating the report. There is even opinion that the West tries to create a fairy tale about Chernobyl paradise with the help of its people in UN and to avoid in this way rendering material assistance to Ukraine.

Alexandr Gorobets PRAVDA.Ru Kiev Ukraine

Translated by Vera Solovieva

Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/02/07/36756.html

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