Today we commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. With the Fukushima disaster still looming in Japan, the consequences of nuclear disasters are still real and apparent. In addition to the radiation exposure and the related risk of cancers, Chernobyl has also brought about psychological consequences such as post-traumatic stress and a reduction in overall wellbeing.
Such problems have so far not been sufficiently studied. It is for these reasons that Green Cross International is active on site to help the impacted communities through its Social and Medical Care programme. Green Cross Switzerland, the Swiss national organisation of Green Cross International, initiated a study on the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster on the mental health, particularly the quality of life and the neuropsychological state of impacted populations.
“25 years after the Chernobyl disaster occurred, there is no improvement in health outcomes. We see that people in the Chernobyl region suffer from the neuropsychological effects, such as prolonged mental stress, post-traumatic stress disorder and diminished well-being, regardless of whether they have been resettled or not. The details have been mapped out in the report that summarizes our study on the health effects of the Chernobyl disaster, in particular the quality of life, bodily functions and the neuropsychological condition of those affected by the disaster. These consequences could very well be major concerns with regards to the Fukushima accident as well,” says Maria Vitagliano, director of the Green Cross International program Social And Medicine Care programme.
In the coming days Green Cross Switzerland will be sending a dedicated team to Chernobyl and organizing a visit for a delegation of 10 Swiss parliamentarians. The parliamentarians will participate in the commemoration ceremonies, meet with members of the Ukrainian Parliament, visit the affected areas, and, observe first-hand the Green Cross’ project activities in the area.
Furthermore, given the impact of the Fukushima disaster on the global perception of nuclear power and its perspectives for future development, Green Cross International has also issued its perspective on Fukushima and the future of nuclear power.