The children who died and still are suffering from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster was in focus at an interfaith ceremony arranged by the World Council of Churches and Green Cross International at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva on 26 April.
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the World Council of Churches (WCC) and Green Cross International organized an interfaith ceremony and a panel discussion at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva.
Representatives from Geneva’s Jewish, Islamic and Christian communities participated in the ceremony.Rabbi François Garaï from the Liberal Jewish Community, Mr Hafid Ouardiri, spokesperson for the Islamic Cultural Foundation and Ms. Adrianne Hensch from the Youth Section of the Geneva Interreligious Platform addressed the audience in commemoration and with prayers from the different faith traditions.
Mrs Nadia Sikorsky, Director of Communications, Green Cross International gave a presentation of Green Cross International’s Chernobyl-related activities. She underlined that it is not only those that have lived through Chernobyl that are suffering. Children born after 1986 are likewise enduring the consequences of the catastrophe. Within this population, chronic diseases of the upper respiratory tract (asthma), allergies, thyroid gland cancer, and endocrine and digestive system disturbances are rampant. According to medical examinations conducted by Green Cross Belarus in 2005, of the children enrolled in the therapy camps, 77% had chronic ENT disorders, 60% were diagnosed with disharmonic physical development, 31% exhibited eye disorders, 27% had vegetative dysfunction, 20% were diagnosed with neurotic disorders, 15% with gastroenterological disorders, and 9% with thyroid disorders. Of these children, only 2.5% were diagnosed as healthy.
The interfaith ceremony concluded with a moment of silent prayer for the victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.