THE mounting nuclear crisis in earthquake-hit Japan continues to dominate the world’s headlines.
Radiation leaks from the country’s Fukushima power plant have sparked fears of another nuclear catastrophe.
The worst nuclear accident in history happened when the Chernobyl power plant in the Ukraine exploded in April 1986.
People are still being affected by that disaster and a party of children from the area will be coming to Huddersfield this summer.
The trip, organised by the local branch of the charity, Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline, will see 16 children stay with families in Huddersfield and Halifax.
Volunteer Margaret Wells, from Honley, said: “Chernobyl is very much in the news at the moment because of the terrible disaster in Japan.
“But although that happened almost 25 years ago I hope people will remember the fact that there are still children living with the effects.”
Belarus received over 70% of the radioactive fallout from the explosion and as a result, thousands of children every year develop thyroid cancer, bone cancer and leukaemia.
Hundreds of children have stayed with local host families area over the years.
Margaret, 60, said the annual three-week trips are important for boosting the children’s health as well as giving them a break away from their poverty-stricken lives.
She said: “The children are very poor. They come over with no belongings and have been drinking contaminated water and eating contaminated food.
“Because of the radiation they don’t develop like our children and are very small.
“They come here aged between 10 and 12 because that’s the age they’re most likely to start to develop thyroid cancer.
“The children are not ill at the moment but a three-week break helps them clear out their system and increase their life expectancy by preventing future illness.”
Activities planned for the visit in July include a trip to Bridlington and swimming.
The volunteers fund the recuperative trips themselves through fundraisers, but while they have enough cash to bring the children over here, they still desperately need extra cash to provide further days out for them.
Margaret, who will be looking after two children in her home, hopes that the current news stories on Japan will remind people of the plight of youngsters in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus and encourage them to help.
“What is in the news today will be gone tomorrow but there will still be those suffering the effects of nuclear disasters like Chernobyl 100 years later.”
To raise funds a ramble around Digley reservoir at Holmfirth has been organised for April 10.
To help the group in any way call Margaret on 01484 664396 or 07903 962782.