26th of april. International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day.

26th of april.
International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day.

The damaged unit 4 reactor and shelter at Chernobyl. Photo: Dana Sacchetti/IAEA.

An explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in 1986 spread a radioactive cloud over large parts of the Soviet Union, now the territories of Belarus, Ukraine and the Russian Federation. Nearly 8.4 million people in the three countries were exposed to the radiation.

The Soviet Government acknowledged the need for international assistance only in 1990. That same year the General Assembly adopted resolution 45/190, calling for «international cooperation to address and mitigate the consequences at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant». That was the start of the United Nations’ involvement in the Chernobyl recovery. An Inter-Agency Task Force was established to coordinate the Chernobyl co-operation. In 1991 the UN created the Chernobyl Trust Fund - currently under the management of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Since 1986, the UN family of organizations and major NGOs have launched more than 230 different research and assistance projects in the fields of health, nuclear safety, rehabilitation, environment, production of clean foods and information.

In 2002 the United Nations announced a shift in the Chernobyl strategy, with a new focus on a long-term developmental approach. UNDP and its regional offices in the three affected countries took the lead in the implementation of the new strategy. There is still a great deal of work that needs to be done in the affected region. To provide support to international, national and public programmes targeted at the sustainable development of these territories, in 2009 UN launched the International Chernobyl Research and Information Network (ICRIN).

On 8 December 2016 the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution designating 26 April as International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day. In its resolution, the General Assembly recognized that three decades after the disaster there remains persistent serious long-term consequences and that the affected communities and territories are experiencing continuing related needs. The General Assembly invites all Member States, relevant agencies of the United Nations system and other international organizations, as well as civil society, to observe the day.

Chernobyl nuclear disaster-affected areas spring to life, 33 years on.

UNDP Belarus/Siarhei Hapon. Restoration work is underway in Chernobyl-affected areas, 33 years after the disaster. (April 2019).

26th of april 2019

More than three decades after the devastating explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, parts of Belarus’ adjoining regions have sprung back to life and the biggest of them, Homiel, has become a leading destination for domestic and international investors.

From an interview: «Fallout from Chernobyl disaster still a “very” important Challenge».

Download Interview in Audio MP3 format.

Sixty per cent of Homiel’s produce - comprising meat, dairy products and handicraft - are exported to neighboring regions and countries while the region attracted $17.7 billion worth of domestic and foreign Investment between 2011 and 2017, representing just over 15 percent of the country’s total direct investment during that period.

A ceremony marking International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day was held at UN Headquarters in New York on Friday. While the Soviet Government only acknowledged the need for international help to mitigate the disaster in 1990, that same year the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for more international cooperation.

«Stigma is still pervasive, but the economic revival is visible».
- UNDP’s Zachary Taylor, Belarus

«In the 33 years since that tragic night, there’s been a re-thinking of the way local populations in southeastern Belarus have handled themselves», said Zachary Taylor, UNDP’s Deputy Resident Representative in Belarus. «Stigma is still pervasive, but the economic revival is visible. This is a fertile and productive region and its people are open, resilient and resourceful».

The Chernobyl nuclear disaster 33 years ago. The women, men and children affected by radioactive contamination must never be forgotten. The 26th april Remembrance Day over .

37,000 small-sized and medium-sized businesses now operate in the areas directly affected by the disaster, up from only 2,375 in 2002.

«But let’s not rest on our laurels. There’s much more that needs to be done to bring the area back to its full potential.
We need to keep investing in training, safety, long-term development planning, new technologies, including tourism and organic farming. This is an area that’s been left behind for too long. Let’s double our efforts to make sure it catches up», said Mr. Taylor.

The disaster affected Belarus, Ukraine and Russia.

Around 470 small towns and villages have been destroyed in Belarus alone, with 138,000 people unrooted from their homes.

The disaster still represents a huge financial burden. In Ukraine last year, 5 to 7 percent of the national budget was still dedicated to Chernobyl-related recovery activities.

In Belarus, the overall economic loss is estimated at $ 235 billion. Missed profits and investment opportunities alone are estimated at $ 13.7 billion.

UNDP has been working with the rest of the UN system and international partners to help Chernobyl-affected areas in Belarus and Ukraine move from recovery and humanitarian support, to creating new jobs, strengthening social services, improving infrastructure, business and increasing investment opportunities.

One in four thyroid cancer cases registered near Chernobyl site likely caused by radiation exposure - new UN study

A quarter of all thyroid cancer cases among patients who were children at the time of the Chernobyl accident 32 years ago, are “probably” due to high doses of radiation received during and after the event, the United Nations body reviewing the effects of atomic radiation on human health and the environment has said.

About 20,000 thyroid cancer cases were registered from 1991 to 2015 among people who were under 18 in 1986 and lived in the affected areas of the former Soviet Union, according to the latest study by the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), which was released ahead of International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day.

The Committee now estimates that one in four of those cases is attributable to radiation exposure.

«Thyroid cancer is a major problem after the Chernobyl accident and needs further investigation to better understand the long-term consequences», said UNSCEAR Chair Hans Vanmarcke.

The explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant on 26 April 1986 spread a radioactive cloud over large parts of what was then the Soviet Union, now the territories of Belarus, Ukraine and Russia. Nearly 8.4 million people in these areas were exposed to the radiation.

Around 116,000 people were evacuated from the area at the time, and a further 230,000 in recent years.

On 8 December 2016 the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution designating 26 April as International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day.

Mr. Vanmarcke digs deeper into the findings of the latest report in a full interview with UN News.