15th Anniversary Of Chernobyl Disaster Marked In Voronezh

Events commemorating the 15th anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster (Ukraine) are being held today in Voronezh, a city in southern Russia, said Viktor Barinov, chairman of the Voronezh regional department of the Chernobyl Union, an all-Russian public organisation of the disabled. Out of the 3,200 Chernobyl victims in the region, 300 are already dead, that is, one family in ten has lost its breadwinner. One in three Chernobyl families has a disabled member. There are practically no healthy Chernobyl survivors. Many are undergoing treatment and gathering medical evidence to qualify for invalid status. Eight districts in the Voronezh region are considered contaminated by the Chernobyl accident, with cesium content there varying between one and five curies. More than 45,000 people reside in the polluted area. Over the past five years, those with Chernobyl-related disabilities have been granted 500 flats, with 48 personal housing certificates issued for rural dwellers. Since 1994, the region has been running the Children of Chernobyl programme, under which up to 2,000 children annually spend their holidays at health resorts free of charge. This year, the construction of a health resort complex, White Hill, is being completed in the Boguchary district of the Voronezh region. The complex is based on unique mineral water springs whose quality, according to Russia's Health Ministry, is better than that of Caucasian mineral waters, especially for the radionuclide removal rate. Treatment of Chernobyl survivors here is planned to begin this year, once the first 100-bed unit is commissioned.

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