Monday, October 1, 2012

Ukraine and its glory

We have had three days now in the Ukraine, a former state of the USSR, which regrettably is internationally famous for Chernobyl and favourably known for the beauty of Kiev.

Our tour of Chernobyl was a day well spent understanding how close the northern hemisphere came to a catastrophe and how human spirit can rise above any disaster. Some of the interesting facts around this nuclear melt down.

Over 340 "official" casualties attributed to the radiation leak
200,000 people displaced from their villages within a 30 km radius
500,000 people fought the Chernobyl War.
1000 school buses shifted 50000 people from the neighbouring village in 24 hours
Pryp'yat which housed the workers of the power plant was not evacuated for over two days, they were only 10 km from the reactor.

When the Pryp'yat residents left they walked out with what they could carry only
The concrete cap 1500 tonnes, is now beginning to break up, which may release radiation again. The EU and World Bank are funding a 1 billion USD structure to recover the reactor, needs to be finished within 5 years otherwise we are in strife.

A very sobering walk through a very desolate part of the world.

Kiev on the other hand is a beautiful city, designed to accommodate a growing population, within Ukraine's 40 million residents. Very typical of the Russian influence, big wide streets, grand churches and statues and poorly maintained hotels and infrastructure. The tube is nothing like I have seen or heard before, very noisy and complicated given all the signs are in Russian or Ukraine,no English.

We are driving our selves south in the next few days, finishing up in Odessa. Looking forward to getting our head around traffic rules and navigation.

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