Chernobyl Nuclear disaster took place in 1986 in Ukraine which is a former Soviet State. This plant was built back in 1970 and consisted of 4 reactors. The plant was scheduled to undergo a scheduled and controlled shut down so as to test the generator’s ability to produce electricity using the plant’s safety system. Reactor 4 of this plant exploded after interior energy increased beyond control discharging radioactive debris and smoke on close by cities and created a radioactive cloud that spread out to a big region of the U.S.S.R. And Europe. This catastrophe involved over 500,000 workers, and over 18 million Rubles. It was considered an International disaster due to the large area that it impacted negatively.
Immediately after the incident, firefighters arrived at the scene and tried to put off the fires. Lieutenant Pravik was among the first commandants to arrive at the scene and he died in 1986 due to acute radiation sickness. The firemen were not warned on the dangers of radioactive smoke and debris and maybe they thought this was a normal fire outbreak. The workers did not seem to know the amount of radiation in the plant. They felt the taste of heavy metal in their mouths but did not know what it was. The fires were put off by helicopters that dropped off sand, clay and lead on the burning reactor.
The United Soviet Socialist Republic thought they would solve the problem until 1989 when they asked World Health Organization to come to their aid. They also asked the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) to assess the consequences of health and environmental terms (Berger 2010). This is when International Chernobyl Project was created to go to the affected areas and make comprehensive reports on the radiological consequences and the protective measures that could be taken. The public was concerned especially after the U.S.S.R. broke up to three Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus which was most affected though poorest.
The government was slow in reporting to the citizens on what happened. They only reported two days after the explosions and the effect was already being felt. Within hours, dozens of people were ill with headaches and uncontrollable coughs and vomits. General population was informed of the explosion via radio and TV news programs as the government placed Scientist teams on alert. A state Commission was set up on the same day after two people were reported dead and fifty two were getting treated as they ordered immediate evacuation on the following day. Everyone living in the city of Pripyat where the disaster had occurred had to move due to the deteriorating conditions in the region. The children were given the first priority, and moved to Kiev Oblast and other near towns via buses that were guarded by police and other officials. They were to carry only the important documents to expedite the evacuation (Jargin 2012). The Sovereignty in the state during this disaster was in control because the government had opted to keep it secret. This way there were no alarming outbursts from the community. This plant was being run by authorities in Moscow and so Ukraine government did not receive prompt information on the situation. Shevchenko asked how the people were and the report was “some are attending weddings, others gardening while others were fishing.”
United Nations Development program initiated a certain project in 2003 called Chernobyl Recovery and Development Program (CRDP) to assist in the recovery of the affected area and people. This program was created courtesy of the recommendations given in a repot on Human Consequences of the Chernobyl Nuclear Accident. Its main goal was to support the Ukraine Government in justifying a long-term economic, social, and ecological costs of this catastrophe. International Project on Health Effects of the Chernobyl Accident (IPEHCA) was also created to help discover the main causes of health effects with most of its funds coming from Japan. These International programs initiated by the United Nations have been known to assist during such crisis. The red-Cross has always been available in times of need too.
International laws and polices that impacted international organizations’ response and recovery efforts to the Chernobyl disaster the response showed some deficiencies and gaps. This is because the set International legal and regulations norms which had been established to govern the safe and peaceful uses of nuclear plants were not followed. At the same time, this incidence stressed the need for a collective International focus on nuclear plant use. This also prompted for a call on the creation of an International management for the secure development of nuclear power under the backing of IAEA. The International nuclear community tried to restore confidence in the nuclear use by addressing these deficiencies (Berger 2010). There have been funds set aside to assist during such tragedies. These funds are internationally controlled by different bodies that have been given the mandate. The World Bank is responsible for monitoring the flow of these funds making sure that the funding did not come from terrorists. Some divisions were set up similar to the homeland Security. They monitor all nuclear plants just to make sure that bio-attacks have not been used by terrorist. In the process they monitor those gas plants that are likely to leak hence endangering the people around.
While disaster relief network hunted ways to stop future catastrophes by relying on engineering, sciences, and organization, at hand were also raising calls for building social equality. Humanitarianism was no longer narrowly describe as a sympathetic response to human distress but included the responsibility to defend human rights. Human rights were named to include universal human rights to basic material goods like clothing, food, shelter and to political freedom too. If these rights were deprived of, the human community had a compulsion to intervene to safeguard and shield them, whether this dishonored the sovereignty of state or not. The human law allows for the basic needs which has not been the practice.
Chernobyl disaster shaped international disaster management policies and plans to assist victims of disasters through the intervention by the United Nations. This disaster management realized how slow the response was in solving the fast spreading situation. It took over ten years to resolve the issue. The reports being given were misleading since the number of the affected people was way bigger than the figures the government was reporting (Jargin 2012).
Due to the uncertainties over this issue from the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster, it is important that the investigations of its effects to be broadened and supported on a long-term basis. The International response proved its slowness and hence the importance for the United Nations to start an independent study of the actions and assignments of the concerned agencies. This has been happening during major disasters like the Katrina and other natural hazards where the governments have been slow to respond. Infrastructure has been the major cause of delays, and also the availability of emergency fund kit. Lessons on emergency response should be given to the society so that they can also take necessary precautions during emergencies. Recommendations should also be given in future when dealing with such international disasters. More of cooperation than rivalry would yield better results. This incidence has also hindered the development of atomic industries.
Alexey V.Y.; Vassily B. Nesterenko; Alexey V. (2009). Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment (Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences) Wiley-Blackwell.
Berger, E.M. (2010). The Chernobyl Disaster, Concern about the Environment, and Life Satisfaction. Kyklos, 63(1), 1-8
Davletbaev, R (2001). Last shift Chernobyl. Ten years later. Inevitability or chance? Moscow: Energoatomizdat.
Jargin, S. (2012). Debate on the Chernobyl disaster: on the causes of Chernobyl overestimation. International Journal Of Health Services: Planning, Administration, Evaluation, 42(1), 29-34
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