Chernobyl life 'back to normal' within a decade

Territories affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster will have fully recovered within ten years, according to the UN.

The UN General Assembly has adopted a resolution proclaiming that the next 10 years will mark a period of recovery and sustainable development in the parts of the Ukraine, Belarus and Russia worst affected by the accident.

The goal, backed by UN funding and advice, will be to ensure that affected communities can return to normal life by the end of this period.

"Working closely with the three national governments, our goal is to do what we can to ensure that by the end of the third decade after the Chernobyl accident, life in the affected regions returns to normal, communities take control of their fates, and the area at last overcomes the stigma associated with the disaster," said Kemal Dervis, the UNDP Administrator and UN Coordinator of International Cooperation on Chernobyl.

The UN recognises that there are still 'daunting' challenges but argues that by focusing on job creation while promoting investment and community development the affected region can make a full recovery within this timescale.

The UN Chernobyl Forum, which includes representatives from the three most affected countries and eight UN agencies, concluded in 2005 that those people living in the region need no longer live in fear of serious health risks but that there remained pervasive fears arising from myths and misconceptions about the dangers of radiation.

It is hoping that this latest message of reassurance and prospect of a better future will go some way towards allaying remaining fears.

The UNDP's work in the coming decade will build on efforts to make the reactor and surrounding site a safe, environmentally stable site while providing information to local people and supporting initiatives aimed at improving welfare and encouraging self-reliance.

Sam Bond


| nuclear


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