Local News

Children Of Chernobyl Come To Triangle For Medical Care

Posted June 7, 2004

— Children affected by the worst nuclear disaster in history are finding rest and medical care in the Triangle.

For six weeks this summer, 152 children from the Eastern European country of Belarus will live with families in Cary, Clayton, Knightdale, Raleigh, Southern Pines, Wendell and Zebulon.

The southern border of Belarus is located just miles from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, where contamination is still affecting the country 18 years after the worst nuclear accident in history.

"They have more health problems that we have -- longer range health problems. During this time away, we give them fresh fruits and good food which they don't get in their country," host Michelle Barry said.

Local churches are providing clothes and supplies. Dentists and doctors are giving free medical care.

"We take them to a doctor and they get a full physical to check for any problems. We also do a thyroid test," Barry said.

Some of the children are orphans and others have families. Many of the Triangle hosts have children of their own.

Even though the children speak different languages, communication is not that hard. Barry says some things are just universal.

"We use a lot of motions and also sometimes, a lot like a toddler, they grab you and drag you to where they want something," she said.

A total of 540 children from Belarus will come to the United States through the

American Belarussian Relief Organization

to live with American families in 11 states.



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