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UN launches report on environmental, health effects of Chernobyl nuclear accident

UN launches report on environmental, health effects of Chernobyl nuclear accident

The United Nations today launched a new report detailing the environmental and health consequences of the 1986 explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, which spilled radiation over 160,000 square miles in Belarus, the Russian Federation and the Ukraine.

The new report, “The Human Consequences of the Chernobyl Nuclear Accident: A Strategy for Recovery,” says special attention should be given to the health problems of victims of the Chernobyl accident as well as a long-term, well-funded research programme on the explosion’s environmental and health consequences.

The report, which was launched at a UN press conference in New York, contains 20 proposed projects that address development needs to stimulate cooperation between international organizations, donors and the voluntary sector.

Kenzo Oshima

“The world needs to know as much as possible about the effects – not only immediate but also long-term – of such accidents,” said Kenzo Oshima, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. “It needs to be better prepared should there be a next time.”

Chernobyl was also an issue that could foster wide-ranging cooperation within the international community among individuals, communities and governments, Mr. Oshima said. “Most importantly, we must not turn our back on the people and government of the three most-affected countries after a decade and a half of involvement and assistance. We must not leave the job half done when there are still outstanding needs.”

Mr. Oshima said that he was preparing for a second visit in early spring to Chernobyl to obtain additional information and that his office was planning a series of meetings between the UN’s interagency task force, regional and intergovernmental organizations, donors and volunteer groups to energize support for the various project proposals.

The report was completed in July and August last year and was commissioned by the country offices of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Belarus, Russian Federation and Ukraine, the three countries most-affected by the Chernobyl explosion, Mr. Oshima said. He was joined at the press conference by UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy and UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown.