MORE than a dozen children from Belarus have arrived in County Limerick as part of Chernobyl Children International’s annual airlift.
The children who arrived from the heart of the contaminated Chernobyl zone are being hosted by hundreds of families throughout Limerick.
While most of those who arrived at the weekend are staying in West Limerick, other children will be hosted by families in the city and East Limerick when they arrive in Ireland over the coming weeks.
A total of 500 children are due to fly to Ireland this summer to be hosted by families across the country.
This year marks the 26th Anniversary of Chernobyl Children International’s Rest & Recuperation Programme.
While giving the children a memorable summer holiday, their trip to Ireland also provides respite from the high levels of radiation to which they continue to be exposed as a result of the Chernobyl explosion.
Adi Roche, CEO of Chernobyl Children International, is thanking host families for their continued support.
“While the accident happened over a quarter of a century ago the consequences will last to infinity. With deepest gratitude I am heartened by the knowledge that over 500 children will receive the recuperation that they so desperately need. Despite the recession, Irish families continue to thrust their hands out to the children of Chernobyl. This is an extraordinary achievement made possible by the unwavering commitment of these families,” she said.
The summer is a particularly dangerous time as the intense heat in their own countries contributes to redistribution of radioactive materials.
The arrival of this summers’ children brings the total number of children who have benefited under the scheme to over 22,000 since 1991.