Young Chernobyl nuke disaster victims arrive in Seattle

Young Chernobyl nuke disaster victims arrive in Seattle »Play Video
One of the young people from Chernobyl is welcomed at Sea-Tac Airport by a host mom.
SEATTLE - A dozen children and teens arrived at Sea-Tac Airport to an emotional greeting Saturday night as they escaped the radiation zone in their homeland of Belarus, near the stricken Chernobyl nuclear plant.

Local volunteer families welcomed the youths with open arms, and they're very excited to be in Seattle.

Some of the kids and teens have birth defects after living just north of Chernobyl in the radiation zone, where a nuclear plant blew up in 1986, causing the world's worst nuclear accident.

More than 20 years later, people are still feeling the affects.

The organization, called "Hope For Chernobyl's Child," arranged the trip, which is designed to be a healthy vacation for these children.

"They will live here with host families in an area that doesn't have radiation, that has healthy food," says Elizabeth Tennison of Hope for Chernobyl's Child. "They'll the opportunity to see doctors and dentists, eye doctors, (and) will hopefully go home pounds heavier and healthier than when they came."

The visit has inspired another local woman in Snohomish to welcome Japanese mothers and children who endured pain and suffering after the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant explosion in March.

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• Anyone who would like to help the Japanese families may visit www.openyourheartopenyourhome.com for more information.