Instantly, two men were killed in the blast and in the days that followed, approximately 49,000 people were uprooted from their homes and evacuated from the town of Pripyat, a nearby city just three kilometres from the plant which was built to serve the workers of the power plant.
Initially, the people of Pripyat thought they were being evacuated from their homes for a few days. A week at most.
Little did they know, they were actually leaving their homes forever.
The real story behind HBO’s Chernobyl. Post continues after podcast.
After all, Pripyat was declared too dangerous for human habitation for the next 24,000 years.
Since the Chernobyl accident, Pripyat has stood still, serving as a harrowing reminder of the catastrophic disaster.
Filled with decaying apartment blocks, an abandoned fairground, the personal belongings of former residents and empty school buildings littered with radioactive dust, the town is often described as “post-apocalyptic” and “what the world would look like if all the humans disappeared”.
Here’s 17 photos that tell the story of the Chernobyl disaster and its aftermath.