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... this week that an explosion occurred at Reactor No. 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station in northern Ukraine. It triggered what the United Nations has described as 'the greatest environmental catastrophe in the history of humanity'.

The explosion released 100 times more radiation than the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and spread a cloud of radioactive particles across a huge swathe of Europe. Several million people still live in contaminated areas. Between the stricken regions of Belarus, Western Russian and Northern Ukraine, the UN estimates that up to 9 million people have been affected by the fallout.

For many years, U2 have been supporters of The Chernobyl Childrens Project, founded by Adi Roche, which listens to local people and organisations in the affected areas and provides aid programmes in response to their needs. One of the great projects it runs is bringing kids from the region across to Ireland for holidays.

Ali Hewson is patron of this small but dynamic charity which has delivered €60m in aid in the past 15 years. The most recent convoy arriived in the past few days.

Visit our Hearts and Minds area for an introduction to the work of The Chernobyl Childrens Project.

National Geographic Magazine are carrying a moving online picture gallery based on the work of a photographer who has just been in the region.

Latest information and news here www.adiccp.org or (US) here.

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