Mayo charity aids arrival of Ukrainian children to Mayo

A total of 113 women and children were evacuated from Chernobyl, Ukraine to Mayo this week after a rescue effort led by Castlebar based charity Candle of Grace.

The effort last weekend saw the evacuees bussed from Chernobyl to Poland where they were met by the charity and flown to Dublin and then transported on to Mayo.

Of the 113 who were brought to the country, 91 of them were children, 59 of those children were unaccompanied, and 23 were mothers of 31 children who made the trip.

When the group arrived into Dublin Airport there was lengthy delays as Tusla processed their arrival before they were allowed to continue on their journey.

When they arrived in Mayo they went to a reception centre in Castlebar before being bussed to accommodations in Newport, Westport and Castlebar.

The children, whose rescue has been organised by Candle of Grace in Castlebar, were flown to Dublin in association with Ryanair, said Lily Luzan, founder of the charity.

They are expected to be treated by the leading authority on the impact of the Chernobyl disaster, Prof Yury Bandazhevsky, who was persuaded recently by Ms Luzan to leave Ukraine with all his research records and resettle in Mayo. The refugee academic aims to set up a radiation research centre in Mayo.

"We are getting the children out and into the clean air of the west of Ireland," said Ms Luzan, who was a child when the Chernobyl disaster occurred on April 26, 1986. She and her family were living close to the nuclear facility at the time.

Ms Luzan, who has lived in Ireland for the past two decades, has worked for many years to assist residents in the immediate surroundings of Chernobyl on both sides of the Ukraine/Belarus border. The charity has stepped up its efforts dramatically since Russia launched its brutal war on Ukraine.

 

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