Risk potential of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, Ukraine

Risk potential of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, Ukraine

The Ukrainian nuclear power plant Zaporizhzhya, now occupied by Russia, has repeatedly been the starting point of security debates due to the large-scale invasion of Russian troops in February 2022, which confirmed the danger of a possible explosion, but in its scale was not comparable, for example, with the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

In recent days, the situation at the nuclear plant has been fueled by new rumors that Russian troops were mounting explosive devices at the plant. Officially, however, these rumors could not be confirmed. However, a possible blast is technically difficult to carry out, as the reactor units are fortunately equipped with several thick, fortified walls for protection. Likewise, the nuclear power plant has been shut down in the meantime, which would greatly reduce radiation exposure in the event of a potential attack, such as an explosion, and would probably be regionally limited. However, a risk remains.

At the same time, the ICRC assesses the risk of a radiation leak as high despite safety precautions. It arrives at this assessment because the likelihood of direct or accidental damage to a reactor or other critical components that enable safe operation of the facility, as well as human error by personnel working under increasing stress and strain, would remain.

At the same time, the ICRC estimates that the risk of radiation leakage is high despite safety precautions. It arrives at this assessment because the likelihood of direct or accidental damage to a reactor or other critical components that enable the safe operation of the facility, as well as human error by personnel working under increasing stress and strain, would still exist.

In the event of potential damage to the facility, the surrounding region could be impacted for centuries by radioactive cesium or strontium contaminating the environment. This is because the released material would have an impact on ecosystems, agriculture, food security, and human health, including for generations to come.

Although opinions on the risk of damage may diverge, it can be stated that the danger or possibility of real damage exists.


Cooperation with DAVA – Focus on Day Care Centers

Cooperation with DAVA – Focus on Day Care Centers

As part of the SOCMED (Social and Medical and Education) program, Green Cross Switzerland has been providing social, medical and educational support to those affected by the defoliant Agent Orange, which was used during the Vietnam War, for over twenty years. The highly toxic herbicide still leaves children and young people physically and psychologically impaired; many are dependent on help. Through its many years of involvement in Vietnam, the foundation has been able to establish a broad network of contacts and build partnerships. One of these partnerships is the Danang Association for Victims of Agent Orange (DAVA).


Danang Association for Victims of Agent Orange

The organization advocates for victims of Agent Orange in the central Vietnamese city of Da Nang and its surrounding area by helping those affected cope with everyday life. According to DAVA, there are about 5000 children living in the city and its agglomeration, 1400 of them with the late effects of the herbicide in the form of physical disfigurement, deformities or psychological disorders. Despite the economic upswing in the region, many affected families continue to find themselves in a precarious situation.


Day care centers for the reintegration of disabled children and adolescents

DAVA has established two day care centers in the region, which together provide a place for 120 victims of Agent Orange. In the day centers, the children and adolescents receive care, nursing and a daily structure through various activities. Through rehabilitation measures, medical check-ups and balanced meals, the health of the victims can be strengthened in the long term. School basics, painting, sewing, singing, dancing or other sports and play activities help to reduce psychological stress and promote self-confidence. Through the all-day care and supervision of the affected children and adolescents, the parents are relieved, which enables them to pursue a job.

Green Cross Switzerland supports DAVA by covering about 20-30% of the costs. The financial support is of central importance, since the Danang Association for Victims of Agent Orange is financed exclusively by donations and depends on sustainable planning, among other things, to be able to hire sufficient care personnel.

By working with DAVA, Green Cross Switzerland is able to channel its financial assistance to concrete structures to improve the living conditions of victims of Agent Orange and to use the contributions in a targeted manner. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to you, dear donors, for your continued support. Your contribution alleviates the difficult situation of numerous children and young people in Vietnam.


Dam burst near Kakhovka, Kherson

Dam burst near Kakhovka, Kherson

The destruction of the Ukrainian dam on June 6, 2023, near the Russian-occupied southern village of Kakhovka has far-reaching consequences for the region, the extent of which cannot yet be assessed. The dam is part of a series of six dams along the Dnieper River and the last before opening into the Black Sea. The dam produced electricity, cooled the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, and provided water for local people.

The destruction caused the floods to reach the city of Kherson, which is located on the delta of the Dnieper River and about 100 kilometers away from the destroyed infrastructure. A total of 24 localities have been affected by the floods. So far, about 3000 people could be evacuated on both sides of the front. Currently, it is roughly estimated that on the right bank of the river, which is controlled by Ukraine, 40,000 people are affected by the floods, while in the Russian-occupied territories on the other side 25,000.

The floods have already caused great damage to the population, infrastructure, nature and animals. The potential consequences from the destruction of the dam will continue to increase. Dropping the water level in the Kakhovksa reservoir to a certain level may mean water shortages for 200,000 people. The laying out of mines along the river may mean that they will now be newly washed into places not expected. Fecal matter or chemicals from factories entering the water can cause epidemics or diseases. Oil was stored in the dam’s power plant, which has now also entered the water, and many fishes have already died from the contaminated water. In addition, habitats of animals such as birds are destroyed. The consequences of the dam burst are therefore manifold, extensive and will unfortunately shape the region for a long time.

While the EU and European countries have already pledged support worth 170 million, about 800 rescuers inside Ukraine and volunteers are providing assistance on the ground. Green Cross Switzerland has been active in Ukraine since 2022 with pragmatic relief actions for the population. In addition to providing water treatment systems to those affected, e.g. in Kherson or Mikolayev, and other assistance, we have supported rescuers of the State Service for Emergency Situations after floods during the spring in the north of Ukraine with a boat engine. Green Cross Switzerland is currently reviewing the possibilities for further assistance to the population affected by the floods in the region around the destroyed reservoir.


Contributions to humanitarian aid in Ukraine by Green Cross Switzerland

Contributions to humanitarian aid in Ukraine by Green Cross Switzerland

With the large-scale start of the war in Ukraine, Green Cross Switzerland was forced to limit its project work in Ukraine. It was natural for us to provide fast and uncomplicated aid. Already in 2022, the Foundation delivered water treatment systems, goods such as food, clothing or medicines to affected areas in Ukraine. This work will continue in 2023. While the delivery of additional water treatment systems is planned for the summer, the Foundation has been able to deliver vital goods to various regions.

In the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv, the focus in April was on delivering basic foodstuffs. Thanks to your donations and the cooperation of local helpers, almost 700 people received potatoes and beans twice in two days. Furthermore, a generator for electricity supply could be provided to a kindergarten.

The fact that the war also affects many animals is often forgotten and the support of these creatures is often neglected. For this reason, Green Cross Switzerland has supported various animal shelters, such as the “Masyanya” in Skrygalevka in the Kiev Oblast with relief supplies. On the one hand, food in the amount of 260 kilograms could be provided to the 200 dogs and 100 cats. On the other hand, urgently needed vaccines were delivered in a second shipment and the survival of the shelter’s animals could continue to be guaranteed.

In another relief action, the population of the Ukrainian city of Novhorod-Siverskyj was supported with infrastructural goods as well as financial contributions. For besides the war taking place, the city as well as the surrounding region has been hit by floods since spring.

In the sense of the principle represented by Green Cross Switzerland “help for self-help” the rescuers of the State Service for Emergency Situations Novhorod-Siverskyj were equipped with a modern boat engine. With this engine, the rescuers can carry out water rescue operations more effectively and quickly in order to save people and help the population affected by the floods more efficiently.

Together with the locally based NGO Knjazhij Hrad (КНЯЖИЙ ГРАД), Green Cross Switzerland also helped out with financial contributions to set up a shelter for the local population. The room, which is currently under construction, will serve as a shelter for the residents from military attacks by the Russian army.

The Foundation’s humanitarian aid in Ukraine will continue, and in due course we intend to help with reconstruction. The support of Ukraine would not work without the cooperation of local helpers and you, our donors. Therefore, we would like to thank you very much for your contributions; you guarantee that we will be able to continue our work in Ukraine in the future.


Cooperation with DeinAdieu: Green Cross Switzerland launches new section on legacies and bequests

Cooperation with DeinAdieu: Green Cross Switzerland launches new section on legacies and bequests

Green Cross Switzerland is pleased to announce and introduce the fresh section on our homepage. You can now visit our page on legacies and bequests in German, French and English, which we have successfully launched in cooperation with DeinAdieu.

The portal supports Swiss relief organizations by broadly informing the population about the possibility of making a testamentary donation. This also includes the provision of services and information on issues related to inheritances and legacies. Accordingly, you can now access various offers through our homepage to plan your estate carefully and according to your wishes. Our site offers the following advantages:

You can take advantage of a free initial consultation and discuss the examination of your situation or your will with an inheritance law specialist.

You can easily and safely create a will using the online tool with instructions and take Green Cross Switzerland into account.

You can use a living will to document your will regarding medical measures should you no longer be capable of making decisions yourself due to an illness or accident.

By drawing up an advance directive, you can appoint a person you trust to represent your interests in the event of incapacity.

By using these offers in favor of Green Cross Switzerland, you help us to continue our tasks and projects in the longer term. The more funds we have available for this purpose, the more targeted and sustainable measures we can take by acting responsibly and carefully.

We would like to take this opportunity to expressly thank you for your cooperation with DeinAdieu and would be pleased if you would consider Green Cross Switzerland when drawing up your will. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact Dr. Jakob Vetsch, Networking & Fundraising or contact the office directly via email or phone.

You can find more information about the new options here.


SOCMED in Vietnam

SOCMED in Vietnam

The defoliant “Agent Orange”, which was used during the Vietnam War, left behind consequential damage to humans and the environment that persists to this day. Those affected are dependent on help.

Since 1998, the Green Cross Switzerland has therefore been supporting affected regions in Vietnam within the framework of the SOCMED programme (Social and Medical Care and Education) induced by the organisation. The programme guarantees medical, psychological and social support in the form of treatments and therapies, especially for children and young people with severe physical and mental disabilities. Day care centres allow those affected to attend adapted school lessons and participate in play activities. The SOCMED programme also focuses on supporting the production of orthopaedic aids.

In order to be able to continue our work in Vietnam smoothly and with high quality, we depend on your donations. We would be pleased if you would take the time to make a small contribution for the victims of “Agent Orange” in the affected regions in Vietnam.

You can find our video information on SOCMED in Vietnam in German on Twitter, Linkedin or Instagram.


Day of Remembrance for the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster

Day of Remembrance for the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster

The 26.04.2023 marks the 37th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. At 01:23 on April 26, 1986, radioactive material was released in unit 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant as a result of a reactor accident. The released material reached Western Europe, but contaminated the surrounding regions the most. To this day, people and the environment in the areas of present-day Belarus, Russia and Ukraine suffer from the consequences of this disaster. In addition to the negative health effects caused by the released radioactivity, the reactor accident also led to social and economic neglect in the regions.

As early as the 1990s, Green Cross Switzerland began to implement aid projects for those affected by these man-made disasters in the three heavily radioactively contaminated countries. For this purpose, the SOCMED program (Social and Medical Care and Education) was established, which offers support on a medical, psychological and social level and focuses on “helping people to help themselves”. For example, therapy camps were organized for children and young people, and medical examinations were carried out by the Green Cross Bus in remote villages.

These assistance services could be guaranteed until 2022, but were severely restricted or terminated for the time being due to the war in Ukraine. In the country of the nuclear disaster, no projects can be implemented in the Chernobyl region at the moment due to the war. Nevertheless, Green Cross Switzerland provided urgently needed humanitarian aid to the population there at the beginning of the war, for example by delivering medicine or food. In addition, preparations are again underway in Belarus for Social Gardening, which will be carried out again in 2023. This project aims to make the diet of children from precarious backgrounds more varied, nutritious and healthy by providing fresh vegetables and fruit from social gardens.

The war in Ukraine also led to a reactivation of what happened in Chernobyl. The occupation of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant from February 24 to March 31 by the Russian army continues to show the dangers to people and the environment posed by the nuclear power plant. Green Cross Switzerland takes the day of the nuclear disaster as an opportunity to remember the victims and those affected by the reactor accident and the war.


Cooperation with the Charity Project Krong Buk

Cooperation with the Charity Project Krong Buk

Since the beginning of this year, Green Cross Switzerland (GCCH) and the Charity Project Krong Buk (CPKB), founded by Peter M. Jenni and his wife Tran Thi Hiep, have been working together. The focus of this cooperation is on humanitarian aid for families affected by “Agent Orange” until today. The support focuses on the central highlands of Vietnam, in particular, on the Dak Lak province. With this partnership, it is possible to provide individual assistance to families affected by Agent Orange, in addition to the SOCMED program projects already carried out by Green Cross Switzerland.

The CPKB works on a voluntary basis and takes care of the clarifications and expenses on site. Mrs. Tran Thi Hiep and Peter M. Jenni visit the affected families in consultation with the People’s Committee, discuss the required assistance with the family members and are in contact with the authorities in the case of major assistance such as house renovations or roof reconstruction. Through the coordination of CPKB, it can be guaranteed that the assistance supported by GCCH will be implemented efficiently and that the financial means within the framework of this cooperation will fully benefit those in need of help.


First aid services started

In the meantime, one affected person could be financially supported with the help of food money. The 43-year-old woman suffers from mutilations, muscle spasms and is dependent on medical care. She lives together with her 85-year-old mother and the income was not sufficient. Through the cooperation between GCCH and CPKB, the mother together with Ms. Tran Thi Hiep can go shopping once every month at the market worth 1 million Vietnamese Đồng (VND) (about 40 CHF). Through the support, the severely disabled woman and her mother can be provided with food and other necessary goods. In addition, planning is currently underway for the rehabilitation of a house roof belonging to a family severely affected by Agent Orange. The goal is to repair the roof until the next rainy season. Repair work is still underway and should be completed in a month. Furthermore, support has been promised to the family of Mrs. Thoi Thi No in Phuoc An. The daughters Kieu and Chi both have severe disabilities due to Agent Orange. Since the father is also disabled and Mrs. Thoi is busy taking care of the family full-time, she is unable to pursue a job. Recently, the community has made makeshift repairs to the home, but the family was lacking food and diapers. Now the family can be supported with a monthly delivery of basic supplies.

Green Cross Switzerland is looking forward to the further and profitable cooperation with Peter M. Jenni, his wife Tran Thi Hiep and Charity Project Krong Buk!



Clean drinking water for the population in war zones

Clean drinking water for the population in war zones

Although there is enough water in Ukraine, the cleanliness of the drinking water cannot be guaranteed in many places due to the targeted destruction of the infrastructure. This is particularly dangerous for children, the elderly, and people with a weak immune system. They are particularly susceptible to dangerous germs in the water and are therefore at increased risk of life-threatening consequences.

Green Cross Switzerland has therefore equipped various public facilities near the front line in Cherson with systems for cleaning heavily polluted drinking water. This equipment comes from the Swiss company Katadyn Group, which specializes in the provision of drinking water solutions in the context of humanitarian aid.

In the course of a first delivery campaign in 2022, ten water treatment systems have already been delivered to the Ukraine. For example, one device was installed in the hospital kitchen of the city of Mykolaiv and another in the Mykolaiv Humanitarian Center. Another delivery campaign started on March 24, 2023 in Switzerland, went via the Czech Republic, Poland and reached Ukraine without incident on March 26. The systems could then be delivered to different locations.

The repair of the systems was not without challenges. Due to a defect in a desalination plant, repairs had to be made, which delayed the deployment somewhat. As a result, it was necessary to find a solution that could fix the defect. With the help of various telephone calls, those involved on site were able to repair the system and additional spare parts and two generators were able to get to the war zone.

Those involved in the relief campaign returned to Switzerland in good health after completing their tasks by April 3 with an impressive result: the campaign guarantees 30,000 people sustainable access to clean drinking water and is therefore an enormous relief for those affected. We would like to thank everyone involved in the operation and look forward to further cooperation in the future!


Our dialoguers in action for people and the environment in Swiss cities

We are proud of our dialoguers for their energetic commitment to people and the environment! They make an indispensable contribution to promoting our cause and are an important part of our commitment for those affected by industrial and military disasters.

Dialoguers are in direct contact and exchange with the population at various locations in Switzerland and inform interested parties about our values, goals and current aid projects. But they do not only fulfill the important role of representing the interests of Green Cross Switzerland and generating new donations. They also collect valuable feedback from the people they meet and talk to every day in public places. This dialogue generates new ideas as well as valuable insights into how our aid projects are perceived by the population.