The Derry and Inishowen branch of Children Chernobyl International (CCI) marked the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster by releasing 30 balloons from the Peace Bridge in Derry.
The Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Councillor Elisha McCallion, hosted a special mayoral reception for the group in the Mayor’s Parlour in the Guildhall.
The Derry and Inishowen CCI branch was founded in 1991 and it has provided help and support to hundreds of children and adults affected by the Chernobyl disaster.
The group has welcomed more than 100 different children affected by the nuclear disaster into homes in Derry and Inishowen for more than 20 years.
Deputy Chairperson of CCI Derry and Inishowen, Emma Hunt, described the work carried out by the charity as “invaluable” and made an appeal for anyone interested in becoming a host family to get in touch.
“I cannot stress enough just how important it is that we are able to welcome children affected by the disaster to Derry and Inishowen every year.
“It’s scientifically proven that for every four weeks children spend outside of the fallout zone their life expectancy increases by two years.”
Ms. Hunt added: “Unfortunately the number of host families has reduced - we have never been so low.
“We need more families from the Derry and Inishowen area to volunteer. The work our host families do every year is invaluable - it offers hope to little children who have none.”
Ms. Hunt joined CCI in 2001 and has welcomed two children affected by the disaster into her home every year since.
Belarus was one of the worst affected areas after the disaster.
On June 24 a group of children from Belarus will travel from Minsk to Derry where they will be paired with host families in both the Derry and Inishowen areas.
If you would be interested in finding out how to apply to become a CCI host family contact Emma Hunt on 07775855638