14-year-old Nikita is greeted by Adi Roche at Shannon Airport - Picture: Eric Clarke / 3 News Ireland
There were emotional scenes at Shannon Airport this Friday evening as almost 150 children arrived from Belarus as part of the Chernobyl Children International’s (CCI) Rest and Recuperation Programme.
The programme sees children being taken out of the Chernobyl-affected regions for much needed respite care in Ireland with an extensive network of host families.
Several of the children who arrived this Friday will be staying with host families in County Limerick over the summer.
Since the disaster in 1986, more than 25,000 children from Belarus and Western Russia have come to Ireland on Rest and Recuperation programmes.
“This is the manifestation of real love and action and the power of Irish generosity and compassion to keep going 31 years after Chernobyl. These (children) are the living embodiment of that disaster which happened in 1986 and in a sense they are the ones that show us that Chernobyl remains an unfolding disaster,” said Adi Roche, founder of CCI.
Mikhail, who is going to Mayo, is ready with his cap pic.twitter.com/kZP7OmBUsN— Maria Flannery (@mariaflan) June 23, 2017
Host families from 13 counties all over Ireland welcomed the children at Shannon Airport for the start of their month-long, life-prolonging respite holiday, during which time radiation levels in the children drop by nearly 50 per cent and up to two years is added to their life expectancy.