RESIDENTS are being called on to support a newly created lifeline for children affected by the Chernobyl disaster.
A new link of Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline has been set up to bring children from North Ukraine here in April so they can receive a vital four week respite from the radiation that lingers since the nuclear disaster nearly 30 years ago.
Jo Cullimore, chairwoman of the Chichester Link of the charity, said around 88,000 children are still surrounded by the radiation from the explosion at the Chernobyl plant in 1986.
“These families are usually living in extreme poverty in poorly built wooden houses or prefab flats built as a temporary measure nearly 30 years ago.”
She said temperatures in that area can dip to minus 30 in the winter and many homes have little or no insulation or heating and use a hole in the garden as their toilet.
“The average household income is around £100 a month, food is the same price as you pay in the UK and clothing much more expensive, so daily living is awful.”
“Most food they eat is grown in the contaminated soil...In the winter they eat the food that they pickle in the summer.”
When the children come to Chichester on 23rd April, they will be given second hand clothes and they will get eye sight tests and dental checks.
Jo said: “Whilst they are here they will breathe in fresh air which clears their bodies of radiation and builds their immune system for the first time, although this is a temporary fix, it has a massive impact helping them through the next winter and also reducing the risk of cancer.
“We will take them on days out that we are able to source free of charge to make it a trip of a life time too.”
Residents are being asked to donate money, clothes and suitcases and volunteer to be host families.
The charity also needs a local dentist to check them for free.
It costs in the region of £600 to bring a child to the UK and people can sponsor a child.
“As a new link we have no funds so need to raise the money for the children to come in April as soon as possible so that we do not have to cancel trip.”