SOS Still Helping Chernobyl Children, Twenty-five Years Later
|SOS children building a puzzle at SOS Belarus. Photo by Benno Neeleman|
On April 26, 1986, radioactive matter from the number four reactor at Chernobyl erupted, traveling 80,000 square miles across Europe. Chernobyl released a hundred times more radiation than the atom bombs dropped during World War II on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
In areas in and around Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union, tens of thousands of residents were forced from their homes. Many have never returned. An estimated 70 percent of the noxious air landed on nearby Belarus, poisoning one-fifth of that nation’s cropland and affecting more than 2.2 million of its 10.4 million people. Half a million of those who suffered from the fallout were children.
SOS Children’s Villages entered Belarus expressly to help families cope with this terrible disaster. In 1996, SOS initiated its operations in Belarus by opening an SOS Children’s Village in Borovljany, 12 miles northeast of the capital Minsk. From the get-go, SOS Borovljany and its adjoining SOS Social Center catered to children from all over Belarus in need of medical assistance following the nuclear disaster.
More at: SOS Chernobyl