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Sunday, 26 April, 1998, 18:40 GMT 19:40 UK
Neighbours count cost of Chernobyl disaster
Chernobyl is not only Russia's problem but the world's
Ukraine and its neighbour Belarus have been counting the cost of the Chernobyl accident, and not only in financial terms.

President Leonid Kuchma told Ukrainian radio listeners on Sunday that Ukraine had lost about $120bn to $130bn, or six times its annual budget revenue, thanks to the disaster.

The Belarusian Emergency Situations Minister Ivan Kenik said his country had lost $35bn, while vast tracts of farm land in the south-east are only gradually being brought back into use. Mr Kenik said Belarus will allocate 9% of its revenue this year to Chernobyl-based programmes.

More than 1.8 million people, including about 500,000 children, are living in the contaminated zone of Belarus around the city of Homel, over which the radiation cloud passed from nearby Chernobyl in April 1986.

Mr Kuchma said the greatest concern for Ukraine was the genetic impact the fallout might have on future generations. Scientists, he added, are still trying to estimate the possible impact.

See also:

21 Nov 97 | Chernobyl
Chernobyl: accident and aftermath
03 Apr 98 | Europe
Chernobyl II feared
21 Nov 97 | Chernobyl
Health implications of Chernobyl
21 Nov 97 | Chernobyl
Containing Chernobyl?

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