Feature Stories

Chernobyl on the Web: Swiss Internet Initiative Supports Aid Efforts in Chernobyl Region

Staff Report

August 2005

A Swiss Internet initiative in support of United Nations activities at Chernobyl was launched 25 June 2002 at joint ceremonies in the western Swiss city of Geneva, Minsk in Belarus and Kiev in the Ukraine. The new communications platform, accessible at www.chernobyl.info, is part of a UN effort to revive international interest in humanitarian aid and sustainable development on behalf of the estimated three million people still suffering from the devastating effects of the reactor explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power generating plant in the Ukraine on 26 April 1986.

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is the body responsible for the new website. Its Director General Walter Fust said at the opening ceremony at the Palais des Nations in Geneva that the interactive site aims to provide "neutral, reliable and independent information" for decision makers regarding aid and development projects for the Chernobyl region.

Describing the platform as a "manifesto against forgetfulness", Mr. Fust said the target audience includes organizations and individuals around the world who have an interest in the Chernobyl disaster and its aftermath. He added that the web site is the Swiss contribution to the implementation of a new strategy by the UN and the affected countries. This strategy places the emphasis on social and economic development in the irradiated areas.

In what was described as a ground-breaking and innovative method in dealing with disasters of this magnitude, the platform aims to help aid and development organizations better coordinate their activities themselves by enabling them to use the site to exchange ideas, plans, projects and experiences and thus avoid needless duplication.

More information is available through the site or by contacting Mr. Joachim Ahrens at the SDC, joachim.ahrens@deza.admin.ch, or Mr. David Chikvaidze, at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), chikvaidze@un.org.