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22 April 2016
Only on AP: Ukraine Chernobyl
'Only on AP' highlights AP investigations, in-depth features and character-driven stories that take a different angle on the news.




* Ukraine / Chernobyl / Story #4032767

Viktoria Vetrova knows the risk her four children take in drinking milk from the family's two cows and eating dried mushrooms and berries from the forest. But the cash-strapped Ukrainian government cancelled the local school lunch programme for 350,000 children last year - the only source of clean food in this village near Chernobyl.

Rural families are resorting to milk and produce from land still contaminated by fallout from the world's worst nuclear accident three decades ago.

Vetrova's eight-year-old son Bogdan suffers from an enlarged thyroid, a condition that studies have linked to radioactivity.

"We are aware of the dangers, but what can we do?" said Vetrova, as she stood in her kitchen after pouring a glass of milk. "There is no other way to survive."

Vetrova's family and countless others are caught between the consequences of two disasters - the residue from Chernobyl and the recent plunge of Ukraine's economy.

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