MADISON (WKOW) -- This weekend marks the 29th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster.
An internationally-known Chernobyl awareness group based right here in Madison believes the world can continue to learn from the tragedy.
"Following Chernobyl, there were approximately 200,000 people evacuated," Friends of Chernobyl Centers U.S. President Marlene Duffield says that's just one terrible statistic from the catastrophic incident.
Her organization supports five centers that surround the Chernobyl disaster zone.
Over the last decades, Duffield and a team of delegates traveled to the region to see first-hand how the region has changed.
She says while some things are getting better, many things are not.
"There are many people who continue to live and grow vegetables on contaminated lands," Duffield said.
The West-sider's group supports those living in the high-radiation areas.
"One of the center's which is affiliated with a hospital has received more than $200,000 in much needed medical equipment," Duffield said.
Four years ago, Duffield flew to Kiev to UN's 25th Commemorative Anniversary of Chernobyl.
"Chernobyl continues to be the worst disaster that has ever occurred," Duffield said.
There, she heard UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon discuss setting more nuclear regulations and standards.
"Regardless of what your opinion of an energy source such as this, we need to have ways to contain it and make it safe," Duffield said.
Friends of Chernobyl Centers U.S. says the U.S. government and other G-7 countries are working to build the sarcophagus over Chernobyl.
"Sarcophagus meaning cover," Duffield said. "Almost like rail road ties...because of the radiation that continues to emit from the sight," she added.
You can learn more about the effects of Chernobyl, when the group welcomes a Fulbright Scholar from the Ukraine to the Black Hawk Country Club on Sunday, May 17th. The event is free and open to the public.
To learn more about that meeting, call the following numbers:
608.231.3198 or 608.438.4892
And for more on FOCCUS: friendsofchernobylcenters.org/