Letter: Chernobyl children

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Chernobyl children

Sir: I would like to take this opportunity to thank Darius Sanai and The Independent Magazine for the article about the published on 5 December.

There has been a great response by Independent readers who have offered to host children in their homes. Needless to say, all applicants must be vetted first by social services and the police.

I have spoken to many readers who phoned and clearly they were very touched by the report on the suffering of these children, forgotten by the EU governments which have given so little help to Belarus.

I would like to correct some misunderstandings. Belavia Airlines do not give the charity free flights. The cost is pounds 200 and pounds 20 airport tax per person, costing the charity pounds 450,000 per annum and pounds 50,000 for airport tax. The children come for a period of one month, not two months, to improve their health.

To add to the Chernobyl problem, Belarus is suffering an economic crisis with the collapse of the Belarussian rouble. In every household I visited, children were pale, coughing and sneezing.

At the moment there are 180 children spending Christmas and the New Year in the UK. All those who have already arrived are underweight for their age because of the grave shortage of food in Belarus. This is only the start of the winter season.

I have visited many regions of Belarus and all the parents of the children that have come to the UK ask me to thank the British people for their generosity. Words cannot express how grateful they are. Every parent remarked on their child's health transformation for the better.



Chernobyl Children Life Line

Haslemere, Surrey