UN reports on effects of Chernobyl

1 March 2002

Concluding that the health of between 100,000 to 200,000 people is still at risk because of radioactive contamination from the Chernobyl accident, a United Nations report has called for an international fight against the resulting pollution.

The joint study involving agencies such as the UN Development Programme and the World Health Organisation has claimed that 2000 people have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer because of the incident, and as many as 8000 to 10,000 cases are expected to develop it over the coming years.

The report says that "massive investment" is needed for communities to break out of "poverty and dependency", and recommends:

• Local resources are concentrated on primary health care, health education, clean water, and economic development, especially on health services for people who were children during the initial release of radiation.

• The staging of long-term, independent, well-funded and internationally recognised research on the lasting environmental and health effects of the disaster.

• Improvement of environmental policy planning, notably developing innovative approaches to land use as contamination declines.

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