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Children affected by Chernobyl disaster arrive in town

PUBLISHED: 16:33 31 May 2019 | UPDATED: 16:45 31 May 2019

Last year's group on their arrival at Gatwick airport. Picture: Contributed by Alison Stannard

Last year's group on their arrival at Gatwick airport. Picture: Contributed by Alison Stannard

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Children who have been affected by the Chernobyl disaster will arrive in the town to experience the region and take a breath of fresh air.

A general view of Ukraine's Chernobyl nuclear power plant. AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky/FileA general view of Ukraine's Chernobyl nuclear power plant. AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky/File

A group of 10 children - seven girls and three boys - all aged between nine and 11 will arrive in Suffolk from Belarus on Sunday (June 2) to experience what it is like to live in the UK.

The children are staying with host families in Beccles, Loddon as well as Lowestoft and are here for four weeks.

During this time, they will have a full programme of activities and will visit local attractions.

Alison Stannard, from the Chernobyl Childrens Life line (CCLL) Chet and Waveney, said: "It is a measure of how desperate parents are to give children this health-giving opportunity that they are prepared for their children to travel abroad to stay with strangers for a month.

Chernobyl reactor after the explosion.Chernobyl reactor after the explosion.

"None of our children will have travelled away from home before. They, and their parents, are very brave," she said.

Throughout the country, CCLL brings group of children to the UK at a cost of £750.

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In Beccles, the last three have been supported by fund raising activities by individuals, businesses as well as organisations.

The Butcher's Arms regularly host a chocolate bingo and other events and have raised the full cost of the this year's visit.

The £750 covers the children's airfare, visa, contribution towards an interpreter fee, school clothes, vitamins, as well as activities.

According to the charity, living standards in Belarus are much lower and children arrive with very few clothes.

In 1986, the fourth reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant, which is located 12km south of the Belarusian border, exploded.

To this day, large numbers of people in Belarus live in contaminated areas which has no access to clean food.

It is estimated it will take up to 400 years to rid Belarus of contamination many children exposed to the have damaged immune systems.

In 1988, 83 children were revealed to have thyroid gland problems. In 1989 the number was 807, and in 1990 it had risen to 9,924.

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