The present borders of Belarus were established during the turmoil of World War II. It is bordered by Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia and the Ukraine and covers some 207,600 sq km. The Republic of Belarusia is a beautiful, relatively flat steppe, landlocked country. It has many rivers, lakes and large tracts of forest and agricultural land. It is estimated that about 75% of the country was contaminated by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and today large areas are still considered to be uninhabitable.
Belarusian history stretches back into the 6th century when it was occupied by Slavic people and since then it has been controlled or occupied from time to time by other countries such as Lithuania, Poland, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.
Presently Belarus is experiencing civil unrest due to alleged irregularities in the 2020 Election. On top of that there is the world wide Covid19 pandemic. This is quite a frightening time for the population and especially the children.
Winters tend to be harsh with sub zero temperatures and considerable snowfall particularly in the northern regions.
Summers are generally wet and cool although they have become warmer and drier with recent climatic changes.
Population: 9.8 million (UN, 2007)
Capital: Minsk (2 million)
Area: 207,595 sq km (80,153 sq miles)
Major language: Russian, Belarusian (both official)
Major religion: Christianity
Life expectancy: 62 years (men), 74 years (women)
Monetary unit: 1 Belarusian rouble = 100 kopeks
Main exports: Machinery, chemical and petroleum products
GNI per capita: US $2,760 (World Bank, 2006)
Internet domain: .by
International dialling code: +375
In the three years following the 1986 Chernobyl disaster 100,000+ people, many of them farmers, were re-housed from the radiation hot spots, 55,000 in high rise apartments especially built for them in the capital. It was essential to move people away from these contaminated areas but no one foresaw the social implications of unemployment, frustration and alcoholism. Out in the countryside the situation is even worse as many villages do not have running water and reliant upon wells, some which freeze during the winter months.
The Covid 19 pandemic is rife in the country. Life continues as if nothing has happened. People are being vaccinated.
At present there are civil protests against the government. People are being arrested and detained with some allegedly being beaten. This is causing fear and anger. The diversion of a passenger aeroplane has added fuel to the fire with widespread outrage.
There are no children visits during 2021.
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Chernobyl Children's Lifeline,
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