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22 Apr 2020

Belarus spends heavily on Chernobyl programs

Belarus spends heavily on Chernobyl programs
An archive photo

MINSK, 22 April (BelTA) – About 3% of the central state budget is spent on implementing Chernobyl programs in Belarus every year, BelTA learned from Sergei Shparlo, Head of the Chernobyl Catastrophe Remediation Department of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry, on 22 April.

According to the source, in 1990-2019 the government spent mostly on the social and economic development of affected territories taking into account capital investments in moving people to clean territories in the first years after the catastrophe. As much as $9 billion was spent in the period. As much as $8.2 billion was spent on the social security of citizens. In 2019 as much as Br522 million was spent on implementing measures outlined by the government program, with Br503 million allocated by the central state budget and Br19.2 million allocated by municipal budgets.

Speaking about Belarusian-Russian joint efforts to deal with consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe, Sergei Shparlo noted that four programs had been completed within the framework of the Union State of Belarus and Russia. A fifth one was launched in 2019. The volume of finance spent on the Union State programs for Belarus will be $66.6 million taking into account the ongoing program.

Since 1990 Belarus has received about $90 million via international technical aid projects meant to alleviate consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe. Substantial support was provided by governments and government agencies of China, Japan, France, Switzerland as well as the European Union. Institutions of the United Nations Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the World Health Organization are responsible for the main contribution to the implementation of the international technical aid projects. The International Atomic Energy Agency continues taking an active part in Chernobyl-related cooperation.

According to Sergei Shparlo, the total economic damage Belarus experienced in 1986-2016 is estimated at the equivalent of $235 billion. Long-term rehabilitation and a gradual recovery are the only viable options in these conditions. The work includes efforts to create safe living standards and develop the industries that can operate without damage to human health and with minimal radiation-related restrictions. The resolution of Chernobyl problems became a most important task for the government of sovereign Belarus after the USSR collapse. Only a systemic approach can help successfully overcome large-scale consequences of the catastrophe. The first government program on dealing with consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe began in Belarus in 1991. As much as $19.2 billion has been spent since then as part of all the government programs on dealing with consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe. The money is poured into social security, medical care, the rehabilitation of affected individuals, radiation protection and targeted application of protective measures, the social and economic development of the affected territories, including capital investments in moving people to clean areas in the first few years after the catastrophe, scientific support, and the improvement of awareness-raising efforts.

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