Chernobyl / Kyiv- German support is now available for the fire-fighting work in the radioactively contaminated area around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, which has been going on for two weeks. “The quick help includes 80 dosimeters for measuring radioactivity and around 15 kilometers of fire hoses,” said the German Embassy in Kyiv. Also, a fire engine equipped for forest and vegetation fires will be purchased.
The aid is worth a total of 230,000 euros and there are still at least six smoldering fires in the region, as can be seen on maps published on Saturday by the Ukrainian civil protection agency in Kyiv. More than 700 firefighters also used helicopters to extinguish the fires.
The authorities did not disclose the area. Previously, they estimated the burned area to be around 11,500 hectares based on satellite images. The environmental protection organization Greenpeace estimates that there are more than four times that in the neighboring area of Zhytomyr on the border to the ex-Soviet Republic of Belarus (Belarus), forest fires that broke out on Thursday spread to villages and destroyed 38 residential buildings.
According to area governor Vitali Bunetschko, around 50 people had to be brought to safety in the capital Kyiv, which was almost 70 kilometers away from the restricted area. The city of three million has no increased radioactivity, according to authorities, and there have been several fires in the uninhabited areas of the exclusion zone in recent years.
Arson is often the cause. After the explosion of unit four in the then Soviet nuclear power plant in Chernobyl in 1986, radioactive radiation was removed from the areas around the nuclear ruins. It was the biggest nuclear disaster in the civilian use of nuclear power. There were thousands of deaths and injuries. Tens of thousands of people have been forcibly relocated. The area has been accessible to guided tourists for several years.