Adi Roche: Chernobyl orphanage ‘invaded’ by Covid-19

The founder of aid organisation Chernobyl Children’s Project International, Adi Roche has said that the orphanage they fund has been “invaded” by the Covid-19 virus.

Despite measures taken to keep the children safe 13 of them have contracted the virus while 10 of the orphanage’s 26 staff have also been infected.

“They are in dense conditions, in dormitory accommodation so the children are seriously at risk,” Ms Roche, told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

“Their chances of survival are very poor,” she explained as many are disabled, have very low immunity and genetic conditions which makes them particularly vulnerable.

The orphanage has no pain killers, there are no cough bottles for the children and the staff have no protection, she added.

This is a devastating blow for the people of Ireland who have supported this place for 20 years.

Ms Roche said that apart from the €3 sent from Ireland to improve conditions for the children in the orphanage, many Irish families had built strong relationships with the children they hosted every year. “They are their Irish Mommas and Poppas.”

“This is a shattering blow, we’re extremely worried.”

The government in Belarus “is out of step with international regulations” with regard to Covid-19, said Ms Roche. “Other than locking the doors (of the orphanage), they are doing nothing.”

Because there has been no lockdown in Belarus with no regulations on physical distancing, she said, “the children in the orphanage are vulnerable to staff coming from the outside in.”

The children don’t understand what is happening and why they are getting sick, “they are extremely frightened.”

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