April 28, 2016 (BBC News Europe) Children are still being born with severe birth defects and rare types of cancer in areas near to Chernobyl, according to a British charity, three decades on from the world's worst civil nuclear disaster. The accident on 26 April 1986 contributed to the downfall of the Soviet Union, changed the way the world thinks about nuclear energy and has affected an unquantifiable number of people in the region. For British pediatrician Dr Rachel Furley, the "desperately sad" reality is that women who have spent their entire lives exposed to high levels of radiation are now having children. She says that in the most severe cases babies have limbs missing and in one case a baby was born with two heads. When Dr Furley is not treating children in Bury St Edmunds, she helps 800 youngsters in Gomel, a region of Belarus. She set up the charity Bridges to Belarus when she was still at medical school. It now gives families clothing, school materials and accommodation, as well as food during the harsh winter, English lessons and healthcare. The organization also provides pain relief, palliative care and potentially lifesaving blood tests for the unusually high number of children with cancer, in a region where state healthcare is often lacking.
The full article is available at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36115240