Launching Chernobyl disaster web site, Annan urges rededicated relief efforts

Launching Chernobyl disaster web site, Annan urges rededicated relief efforts

Stressing the human dimension of the Chernobyl disaster and the continued suffering of its victims 16 years after the world's worst nuclear accident, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged countries to recommit themselves to an active role in the relief effort.

"If we are to mobilize the international support that the people still living in the shadow of this tragedy so badly need, we must ensure that others do not forget it, by providing a steady and sustained flow of impartial and reliable public information," the Secretary-General said in a message to the launch of a web site in Geneva about the nuclear accident.

"During my recent visit to Ukraine and the Russian Federation - which, along with Belarus, are the countries most affected by the catastrophe - I saw that, despite the passage of 16 years, much still remains to be done to alleviate the human suffering that resulted from it," the Secretary-General added in his message, which was delivered by Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General of the UN Office in Geneva.

In pledging the UN's continued partnership in this task, Mr. Annan called for a concerted effort by all countries and urged them to follow the example set by Switzerland, which conceived of, supported and created the site providing comprehensive information in German, English and Russian on the international response to the disaster.