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Page last updated at 12:12 GMT, Tuesday, 27 July 2010 13:12 UK
Child victims of Chernobyl disaster visit the region
Chenoby children on Teesside
Chernobyl children are on a respite break in Teesside.

Child victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster are spending four weeks recuperating in the area.

Twenty girls aged nine to 13 are living with host families on a holiday organised by the Chernobyl Children's Life Line.

The national charity provides a wide range of support for those affected by the 1986 explosion.

Natasha and Katya are taking part: "We like excursions here and the fact that adults are very kind."

Contaminated food

Margaret Cundall is Chairman of the Teesside Link of the Chernobyl Children's Life Line:

"UK breaks like these are vital for the youngsters, not only in terms of morale but from a health point of view.

"Their families can't afford to buy imported food from outside the Chernobyl area, so the home-grown produce they eat is still contaminated by radioactivity."

Belarus received over 70% of the radioactive fallout and thousands of children there develop thyroid or bone cancers or leukaemia.

Doctors in Minsk, the capital of Belarus believe the month the children stay in the UK helps boost the children's immune system and could potentially extend their lives by up to two years.

'Bravery'

As part of this year's visit the children have spent a day at Hartlepool's Maritime Experience.

David Worthington, Hartlepool Council's Museums and Heritage Manager:

"We are always delighted to welcome the Chernobyl young people to Hartlepool.

"Their cheerfulness and bravery in the face of such problems is truly an example to us all."

Since it was set up in 1992, the Chernobyl Children's Life Line has provided UK breaks for over 46,000 youngsters.

The charity has also donated thousands of tonnes of medicines and healthcare products to the affected areas.




SEE ALSO
Belarus country profile
23 Dec 11 |  Country profiles
Chernobyl hosts to learn Russian
14 Feb 10 |  Lancashire
Chernobyl children to make visit
25 Oct 09 |  Guernsey

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