[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 20 April 2006, 17:08 GMT 18:08 UK
Chernobyl voices: Hanna Semenenko
Hanna Semenenko

Hanna Semenenko, 78
Resident of Chernobyl zone village, Ilyintsi
Evacuated to Yahotin, 160km away, but went back

Oh God, how they tricked us! They said they were taking us away for three days and they took us to the end of the earth. We handed over everything to the authorities, cows, calves, pigs. We left everything behind. We took nothing with us but our souls.


I spent the winter in Yahotin and came back again in the spring.

There was nothing there but steppe - here we have rivers and forests. So many of our young people have died there.

I wouldn't go back, I would rather die.

My brother lived here in the first years after the accident. His daughter married and had a child, a boy as healthy as an oak tree. They lived here for a long time before they moved. What kind of radiation do you call that?

Ageing villagers

Officials come and check us, they check our food and our clothes. There is nowhere as clean as here!

Officials come and check us, they check our food and our clothes - there is nowhere as clean as here!

They just deceived us, drove people to the ends of the earth, out of sight. Where is the radiation? They took us to Yahotin where radiation levels are higher than here.

We have electricity, thank God, and I get water nearby. We grow potatoes, cabbages and tomatoes, and mobile shops visit us twice a week.

There are 36 people in the village. One lives at one end, another at the other. We see each other when they bring our pensions, or when the shop comes. Otherwise, no-one really walks around. People who live here are old like me, or older. There are a couple who are 90 or more. Tomorrow they may no longer be here.


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific