Haunted by Deadly Dust of Chernobyl; WHY ADI IS AN ANGEL FOR TRAGIC KIDS

By Taylor, Richie | The Mirror (London, England), October 25, 1996 | Go to article overview

Haunted by Deadly Dust of Chernobyl; WHY ADI IS AN ANGEL FOR TRAGIC KIDS


Taylor, Richie, The Mirror (London, England)


She is one of Ireland's unsung heroines.

Adi Roche - the "Angel of Chernobyl" to the radiation-damaged children she has helped in the region - has been on countless missions of mercy to the site of the world's worst nuclear accident.

The Cork-based Chernobyl Children's Project which she helped to found has, so far, sent pounds 6.5million in aid to Russia and Belarus - 10 times the total donated by all Western governments put together.

The project has brought 2,500 sick children to Ireland for holidays or treatment.

Now Adi's life and work is to be the subject of a Would You Believe documentary on RTE One this Sunday at 7.30pm.

In the programme, Clonmel-born Adi talks about the death of a childhood friend from leukaemia and the effect it had on her.

Some years later, Adi's brother was forced to flee his home in Harrisburg, Pennsyl- vania, when the Three Mile Island plant nearly melted down.

Both incidents were precursors of what was to become Adi's life work with children stricken by cancer as a result of radiation.

In the programme she tells how witnessing the lives and deaths of youngsters in Chernobyl drove her to take immediate action to help them.

Fellow campaigner Ali Hewson - wife of U2 star Bono - has accompanied Adi on numerous trips to the Chernobyl area.

Last April, their convoy was caught in a cloud of radioactive dust as they carried supplies worth nearly pounds 2million, generously donated by the people of Ireland.

Both women were petrified but determined to carry on with their aid work in spite of it.

"We were really scared," said Adi.

"Radioactive dust was being carried by the wind. It's not something you can see, taste or touch."

The women were worried that they, and the 80 aid workers in the convoy, could have been contaminated by the deadly dust.

All took showers and burned their clothes the minute they got back to base.

They later went to Kiev for a march to mark the 10th anniversary of the explosion in Chernobyl's Number 4 reactor. …

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