'Don't think Chernobyl can't happen to you'
A leaflet has arrived. Actually it is not really a leaflet. It's a sheet of 100% recycled A4 printed on both sides and folded over twice.
Accompanying the sheet of paper there is a small square of beeswax which can be rolled like a cigarette and used as a small candle. It's an early Christmas present from Project-Tschernobyl-Kinder and Global 2000.
What does the leaflet say? It says that the Ukraine is divided into zones based on the levels of contamination. It says that there are 3 "very dangerous zones" and 3 "critical zones". These are shown in two shades of red. A small map shows that these 6 zones are to be found not only in the north, where Chernobyl itself is situated, but also in the east and the south-east of Ukraine. They include the cities of Kharkov, Lugansk, Saporozhje, Donetsk, and Dnepropetrovsk. Cities you have probably never heard of. Places you never hear about on the news.
There are 3 other contaminated areas. These are shown in orange and include Zhitomir and Vinnitsa in central Ukraine, and Lutsk in the northwest. Approximately 40% of surface area of Ukraine is contaminated.
At this time 2.3 million Ukrainians live in contaminated areas. This figure includes 500,000 children. Of these children, 80% are sick. That's what the leaflet says. Examples of children's illnesses are given: thyroid cancer, leukemia, bone cancer, muscle and bone atrophy, defective immune system. The 3 main causes for the children being sick are hereditary genetic defects caused by radiation, and contaminated farmland and water.
Several hundred tons of highly radioactive rubbish was removed from Chernobyl. So where is it today? No-one knows exactly but we can be sure that much of it is buried near houses and gardens, in the fields and near wells and springs, and in places where people live.
Over the last 15 years Global 2000 has been responsible for bringing more than 1,700 children to Austria to convalesce or to receive medical treatment they cannot obtain in Ukraine. They have also distributed more than €3,000,000 in direct aid. In addition, in Kharkov a hospital for children has been built, in Lugansk a centre for handicapped children has been constructed and in Antratsit a birth clinic.
Meanwhile, despite protests, a long slow train loaded with plutonium is trundling along from France to Germany.
Don't think Chernobyl can't happen to you.
Fukushima still rages out of control, and some would say conveniently out of the news. It may be our final warning.
Mainichi Daily News update: The odds of a big tsunami on the east coast of Japan during the next 30 years is rated 30%. The 8.5 quake (est.) of 1896 caused a 38.2 meter (125 ft) tsunami.
Energy News update: Fukushima fallout now confirmed in all prefectures in Japan.