Article

Chernobyl: An Unbelievable Failure to Help

International Physicians for Humanitarian Medicine, Geneva.
International Journal of Health Services (Impact Factor: 0.99). 02/2008; 38(3):543-60. DOI: 10.2190/HS.38.3.i
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The disaster at the Chernobyl power reactor near Kiev, which began on April 26, 1986, was one of the world's worst industrial accidents. Yet the global community, usually most generous in its aid to a stricken community, has been slow to understand the scope of the disaster and reach out to the most devastated people of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. This article probes the causes of this confusion of perception and failure of response; clearly the problem is one of communication. Has the International Atomic Energy Agency betrayed the victims of the Chernobyl disaster because of its plans to promote the "peaceful atom" nuclear program in the developing world? Has the World Health Organization failed to provide clear, reliable information on the health effects resulting from the disaster? Are other historical problems or actors interfering with reasonable handling of the late effects of a nuclear disaster? Most importantly, what can be done to remedy this situation, to assist those most hurt by the late effects of Chernobyl and prevent such injustice in future? With the current promotion of nuclear energy as a "solution" to global climate change, we need to take a sober second look at the nuclear energy experiment and management of its hazards.

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