On Sunday April 7th I'm leaving for Ukraine with recently retired British surgeon Maurice Frohn who is also an elder in the United Church of God. On the 11th Maurice and I fly to Budapest. We'll stay the night there and then continue to Kiev Friday. The purpose of this trip is to do reconnaissance in the Chernigov area, 80 miles north of Kiev not far from the Chernobyl to assess the desperate medical needs of the area. We will be examining the condition of the hospitals and talk to the doctors about their problems and shortages. This will help us come to a conclusion about how best to assist with the help of our American and London contacts. Our letter of invitation came from Dr. V. Pasechnik, Director of the Chernigov Centre of Medical Social Rehabilitation of Disabled Children. The tenth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster is being commemorated this month. Medical supplies are in shockingly poor supply. As a goodwill gift we're bringing some medicines and suture material which is very unavailable. This package is valued at nearly $3,000 which I was able to obtain it from Compassion Humanitarian Relief in St. Paul, Minnesota for $200. We're getting support from Minnesota-based International Medical Mart as well. We are also taking cucumber, tomato and bell pepper seed. Cucumbers have not grown from indigenous seed since the nuclear accident. Even seed from outside the area becomes unusable after 2 years of gathering seed. To further explain our mission, I'm going to add Maurice Frohn's personal report at the end of mine. We plan to stay in Chernigov about 5 days before driving to Western Ukraine. A chauffeur will drive us 500 mile distance to Khust. We will visit another clinic serving 19 villages for a few hours in Rovno and talk to their staff. On Friday, April 19th we will arrive in Khust and spend about five days with the Sabbatarians. I spoke to their leadership a week ago last Sunday. They are very anxiously awaiting our coming back to visit them. It's been almost two years since my wife Bev, Duane Abler and I visited the Ambassador University project. One area that the Sabbatarians want to continue discussing with us is their need for literature. We have put together literature packets of what we have so far. This includes the Good News, the three booklets and a few New Beginnings. In our former association we translated the booklets "God's Holy Days" and "Why Were You Born?" They also have copies of a number of early Radio Church of God Russian booklets of early 60's vintage. They have used the older versions of "What Kind of Faith is Required for Salvation" and "Which Day is the Sabbath of the New Testament?" in their Siberian evangelism. They established a church in Siberia as direct result of reproducing the aforementioned booklets. They do not want us to print booklets for them. They simply need good material translated and made camera-ready for them to print. That we can do. We have access to Russian translators specializing in translating religious material. They would like two kinds of literature: motivational evangelizing material and the instructional variety. They told me that "Why Were You Born?" was an effective evangelizing tool and they would like to see more of that kind of reading matter. They would also like to have some instructional type of material along the lines of the practical Christian living and articles relating to family, marriage and children. There is a greater interest in the Holy Days since I've spoken about them in their churches about them and since our translation of the booklet into both Ukrainian and Russian. From Khust the Sabbatarians will get us across the border to Hungary where we will take the train to Budapest and fly back to London on April 25th. Report by Maurice Frohn: Sb: The Chernobyl Reconnaissance Fm: MAURICE FROHN [101557,1462] It is one decade since the Chernobyl disaster. The nuclear power plant lies in the flat woodlands of the Ukraine close to the border of Belorussia. The reactor fuel was rods of uranium dioxide moderated with graphite and water cooling circuits raised steam to the turbines. The engineers were testing the ability of the generator, while freewheeling, to power the cooling pumps after its steam supply had been cut off, as might happen during a power failure. The test on Unit 4 started at 0100 hours on 25th April. At 0123, 40 on the 26th April the reactor became super prompt critical. At 0123, 48 a steam explosion dislodged the 1000 ton steel and concrete cover plate, three seconds later the reactor exploded and ejected molten fuel. The exposed graphite caught fire releasing radionuclides into the atmosphere for ten days covering the whole of Europe to a wide range of radionuclides irregularly distributed by the rainfall. At the plant, emergency personnel and firefighters received high doses of beta and gamma radiation and thermal burns. 21 "liquidators" who received doses over 600 rad were dead within 28 days. The plant workers' town Pripyat, one mile away, was evacuated on the 27th April in good order within 3 hours with no time to pack. 135,000 people were evacuated from a 30 km zone. Offers of homes, clothes, money and blood revealed the common bond of the Soviet people in misfortune. Of the many radionuclides distributed by the plume, the most dominant were isotopes of iodine, caesium, strontium and plutonium, associated with highly radioactive fuel particles and dust. The external exposure to radioactivity in most of Europe was less than would be experienced by a London-Spain jet return flight. It is the internal exposure which is significant, the highest doses being received by children drinking fresh milk from herds grazing contaminated pastures. Green leaf vegetables, lamb, fruit and rainwater are further sources of internal exposure. The effect of the iodine isotope was short having a half life of 8 days but the caesium isotope has a half life of 14 years, contamination being greatest where rainfall was greatest. The Incorporation of isotopes into the food chain remains a source of internal exposure but it is expected that the increase of cancers in non-Soviet Europe will be barely detectable. In March 1991 the International Chernobyl Project produced a technical report which was subject to limitations of time, the vast area covered, some indequate data and a limited number of experts available for the study. However, it was noted that the high level of stress was linked to socioeconomic, political and relocation changes rather than to radiophobia. In 1990 the children were generally healthy. Up to 15% of adults required medical care which is similar to non-contaminated areas. Growth rates for children were unaffected and there were no thyroid biochemical changes. Immune systems were competent and blood examinations revealed no change. The incidence of cancer was rising before 1986 and there was no increase in leukaemia or thyroid cancer associated with the disaster. There was no change in the incidence of congenital abnormalities. The observation was made that the benefit of evacuating from a contaminated area could be marginal compared to the reduced longevity as a result of the emotional disturbance and difficulties of relocation. Since 1995 relief agencies and the news media have reported that the full effects of the disaster are only now beginning to emerge with a sudden increase to hitherto unknown high levels in childhood malignancies, especially of the thyroid and leukaemia. Personal communication has revealed that the problem is compounded by the prevailing social and economic conditions leading to failure of the medical services to provide definitive or palliative care, not because of lack of will but because of lack of essential resources. It is proposed to visit the Ukraine for a reconnaissance of the condition of the people, their hospitals and staff. It is not intended to interfere or wallow in tragedy but to estimate the need where required and wanted. Individuals do not have the authority of impressive committees but individuals can move and reconnoitre faster and wider and be less intrusive and intimidating, without the burden of schedules and protocol of committees. On return it is proposed to inform and mobilise the charitable foundations and individuals in the UK and to utilise the resources offered in the USA. The Chernobyl disaster has been overshadowed by more European wars. This visit will not solve the overwhelming problems but it will show the Ukrainian people suffering as a result of the world's greatest nuclear accident, that they have not been forgotten.