Thirty-five years ago, while the nuclear reactor unit at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine exploded, I became a health practitioner most of the first responders. Radioactive substances catapulted into the atmosphere, the result of human blunders and a layout flaw. A dense cloud of radiation hovered over the western Soviet Union and Europe as a blaze burned for ten days.
A paediatrician and haematologist in Kyiv at the time, I was dispatched to the rising nuclear nightmare. Some first responders extinguished fires and wiped clean up radioactive debris. Our physicians triaged and administered first aid. No people had been given defensive clothing or particular instructions.
I witnessed worried households and civilians strolling barefoot across radioactive sand, carrying stretchers to save others. I handled traumatized kids suffering from radiation and families who have been in hysterics or shock. Distressing pictures of the destruction nonetheless haunt me.
Tragically, the silence and secrecy of Soviet officers after the nuclear event exacerbated the damage, and damage to human health and the surroundings persists.
An invisible enemy in my home In Kyiv, a few three or four days after the explosion, regardless of the mute Soviet response, we found out the risk posed through radioactive particles. I felt emotionally numb, my way of protecting my conscious thoughts from the misery and shock of detecting with a borrowed Geiger counter. This device can discover radiation enormous radiation in the most secure region on earth: our family home.
Even after 35 years, at global conferences, I have nevertheless requested the same question: “What have been first responders least organized for at Chernobyl?” My answer by no means changes: “Everything.” My firsthand revel in of a nuclear explosion so extraordinary in every manner satisfied me that we can by no means be organized entirely for nuclear disasters and their consequences.