Children of Chernobyl : Raising Hope from the Ashes

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9780806626857: Children of Chernobyl : Raising Hope from the Ashes
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Although years have passed since the nuclear plant at Chernobyl exploded, the scope of the disaster and its long-term effects are only coming to light.
Beneath the surface of the land, in the fields and forests, and even in the food supply itself, lie hot particles of plutonium and other radioactive poisons that will threaten the children of Chernobyl for the next 20,000 years.

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From the Author:

"If I could do anything," writes a school child near Chernobyl, "I would eliminate radiations so I could walk in the woods again and swim." Sadly, in much of his homeland such ordinary pleasures have been lost, not only for his lifetime, but for many thousands of years to come.

"Life will never be simple or uncomplicated again for two million residents of Belarus, and millions more in Ukraine and southern Russia, who continue to be exposed daily to off-the-chart levels of radiation. In Belarus alone, more than 800,000 children are at risk.

"Only now, years later, are the full and terrible consequences of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster becoming known. Shortly after midnight on Saturday, April 26, 1986, routine maintenance was in progress at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the northeast corner of the Ukraine when an uncontrolled power surge raced through reactor No. 4, producing steam and hydrogen which culminated in a massive explosion and fire. A mile-high nuclear cloud hovered for ten days over vast areas of the Soviet Union and Europe, releasing its nuclear rain. Prevailing winds carried radiation containing deadly isotopes of iodine, plutonium and cesium to the northwest, dropping seventy percent of the fallout from Chernobyl on the Ukraine's neighboring republic, Byelorussia.

"In 1990, individuals within Byelorussia first found the courage to defy the Kremlin, reveal the scope of their suffering, and ask the world for help.

"That was the same year that the two of us first encountered the children of Chernobyl. We took quite different paths but arrived at the same place at almost the same time. From the capital city of Minsk to the villages surrounding Chernobyl's "Dead Zone," we have come to know the children's suffering, listened to their desperate parents, and learned from the courageous doctors who cared for them without access to modern medical techniques or equipment.

"While this book tells a tragic story, it also offers much hope. In partnership without volunteers, we have learned that people who care can make an enormous difference. This book is also a story of East-West encounter. We found ourselves immersed in the thousand-year history and culture of the Slavs, who today carry the burden of what out Belarusan publisher Alexander Lukashuk calls the three latter-day Golgothas of Belarus: Kurapaty, where Stalin dropped hundreds of thousands of his victims into shallow graves; Khatyn, where Hitler tried genocide to end Soviet resistance; and Chernobyl, where the lives of uncounted future generations were compromised.

"But remarkably, through it all we found hope and renewal as more and more sick children went into remission, as the promise of democracy and freedom found expression, and as Americans heard the story and were moved to respond with compassion."

From the Back Cover:

"Although years have passed since the nuclear plant at Chernobyl exploded, the scope of the disaster and its long-term effects are only now coming to light. Beneath the surface of the land, in the fields and forests, and even in the food supply itself, lie hot particles of plutonium and other radioactive poisons that will threaten the children of Chernobyl for the next 20,000 years.

"This book is an inspiring, true story of compassion and East-West encounter. Through the eyes of the authors you will: travel to the Belarusan capital of Minsk and meet Natasha Ptushko, a 14-year-old leukemia victim; encounter the customs and traditions of a 1000-year-old eastern European culture; watch how American volunteers from different cities pooled their efforts to deliver life-saving medicines; see the changes in daily life that resulted from Glasnost, Perestroika and the collapse of the Soviet Union; meet the political and religious leaders of one of the newly independent republics; and see how compassionate concern relieves human suffering and breaks down barriers of misunderstanding."

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9780806626772: Children of Chernobyl: Raising Hope from the Ashes

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Publisher: Augsburg Fortress Pub, 1993
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