The tragedy of April 26, 1986 has become a landmark in the Belarusian history dividing it into pre- and post-Chernobyl periods.
The damage the republic has suffered as a result of the catastrophe is outrageous. According to specialists, it has totaled about $235bn or 32 annual budgets of the pre-tragedy period and has affected practically all spheres of human activity in the regions. Farm lands and pastures have been excluded from agricultural use, while forest, mineral, organic, fuel and other resources are used restrictively. Among other losses incurred to the regions is closure of enterprises and companies, output reduction, low payback of funds invested to construction and melioration, expenditures for resettlement of people, reshaping of numerous branches, ensuring safe living conditions and social security for residents of the contaminated regions, medical care and recuperation.
Gomel oblast took the brunt of the Chernobyl impact.
More than 135 thousand people from 470 townships and villages (295 of them were located in Gomel oblast) had to resettle from the worst affected territories to safer regions of the republic.
For the post-tragedy years the oblast developed a system of radiation monitoring and control, as well as a system of protective measures in agro-industrial production, which is financed from the state budget. The region is carrying out a set of measures aimed at improving medical services to the victims of the catastrophe. There is a system of social protection of all categories of the affected population.
At the moment the republic has been implementing a program on mitigation of the Chernobyl catastrophe consequences. The president of the republic supervises realization of the state policy on overcoming the Chernobyl catastrophe consequences. The president makes regular visits (not fewer than twice a year) to the contaminated regions to examine the issues on social protection of the affected population, the development of concrete measures aimed at minimization of the Chernobyl catastrophe consequences.
Various foreign charitable organizations from Germany, England, Japan, Italy, Austria, Belgium, the USA and other countries render significant support to Gomel oblast in mitigating consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe. They supply drugs and medical equipment, organize probation periods for Belarusian doctors in western clinics, arrange recuperation trips in foreign countries for children from the most contaminated regions.
Recently on the initiative of the UN and World Bank mission the oblast launched projects on rehabilitation of the contaminated territories. The projects seek the support of the international community in getting loans for putting in industrial infrastructure and creating new jobs in the affected regions hence providing an opportunity for the local dwellers to raise their social security.
The leadership of the oblast shares the same opinion. No foreign help, however substantial it be, could help liquidate all socio-economic and psychological consequences of the catastrophe. They can be overcome by means of speedy development of the region’s economy. This is why in international cooperation on the Chernobyl problem the region’s leadership lays emphasis on search for investments, creation of joint stock companies, expansion of trade-economic ties with foreign countries.