Chernobyl certificate No 000358

Feature story - 27 February, 2006
Being a victim of the Chernobyl disaster means more than just a number. Often it's a lifetime of suffering due to a dirty, dangerous industry still being promoted with your tax money.

This is Annya. She is more than just a number.

Annya was born in 1990 ina village highly contaminated by the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown of1986. A cancerous brain tumour at the age of four marked the end ofAnnya's childhood and the beginning of a life of pain and illness.Annya, now 15 and bed-ridden, has spent her life in and out ofhospital, between tumours and life support. Every 15 minutes of everynight, she must be turned in order to prevent further pain andbedsores.

Twenty years after the Chernobyl disaster, Annya, and her parentsbattle everyday with the cruel and personal legacy of Chernobyl. Theirhome village in the south of Belarus, irradiated and uninhabitable, was razed andburied years ago. Gomel, the region where they live now, iseconomically and socially depressed, and work is hard to find.

Annya's is just one story. In Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and beyond,there are 100,000's of people who lost a chance of a normal life tonuclear disaster on a quiet spring night in 1986. Thousands of stories.Thousands of certificates. Thousands of lives forever and irreparablyscarred.

Nuclear technology is inherently dangerous. Today, thankfully, it isalso unnecessary. Our energy needs can be met with safe and efficientrenewable energy technologies. So, why are so many politicians peddlingnuclear power at the very time we need it least, when we have safe andsustainable sources available to power the world?

And why does the UN, through its International AtomicEnergy Agency (IAEA) continue to promote the nuclear technology thatcreates the very materials used to make the nuclear weapons it ismandated to stop? Is it the role of a UN agency, funded by your taxes,to advance the profits of the nuclear industry? Do we not have theright to expect the IAEA to focus only on the values and principles ofthe UN - peace, security, and human rights - and not on privateindustry's profits?

In some ways, sadly, Annya isjust a number. She is one of hundreds of thousands of victims livingthe devastating aftermath of Chernobyl. For Annya and for the thousandsof children like her, you need to speak out and say NO more nuclear, NOmore Chernobyls. If you don't, who will?

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