Helena Christensen is adding her voice to the #IWillNotForgetYou campaign. It’s a social media movement to support all those affected by the Chernobyl disaster.
You see, it’s been 32 years since a damaged reactor spread a radioactive cloud over what’s now known as Ukraine, Belarus and the Russian Federation. Millions of people were exposed to radiation – dozens were killed, hundreds injured and thousands are reported to have developed cancer and other health problems from the exposure.
Helena is reminding us that the impact of that disaster is still playing out today. She says, “I will not forget you” in her campaign video, holding up a photo of a child of Chernobyl.
The campaign was started by Adi Roche, founder of humanitarian organisation Chernobyl Children International. There’s a paragraph on their website that really explains it all – “Chernobyl is not something from the past. Chernobyl is forever. The impact of that single, shocking nuclear accident can never be undone: its radioactive footprint is embedded in our world forever and countless millions of people are still being affected by its deadly legacy.”
So what is that legacy exactly? Many people are still living in radioactive environments. Many have no choice and continue to grow food in contaminated soil. Public health, mental health and employment continue to be major concerns. The hit to the Belarusian economy at the time has meant building and repair efforts have been slow. Many orphanages and day care centres were never rebuilt. There are hospitals, surgeries and schools that still don’t have the right equipment and still don’t meet safety requirements.
The campaign is a reminder that as the children of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster have grown into adults, it’s now their children who are facing health, education and other issues. The message is, they are not alone and the world has not forgotten about them.
Helena’s video coincides with the United Nations day of remembrance for the Chernobyl Disaster on April 26.