December 7, 2023

Chernobyl: The Survivors Who Returned

Chernobyl, also known as one of the most radioactive places in the world and will remain radioactive for thousands of years. The town contains the worst radioactive disaster and could’ve made Europe uninhabitable if it wasn’t for the plant workers containing the nuclear power plant. In the exclusion zone, only one hotel actively is open and run by a liquidator who was called in during the incident, and a resettled who returned to their home after most of the radiation cleared a year after the incident. Taking place near Pripyat, Ukraine, 2 miles away from the power plant. Over plant 4, a new large dome sits above it covering the exploded reactor where today, workers are trying to disassemble the plant and dispose of it safely. The Chernobyl Atomic Power Plant incident left over 300,000 people homeless after the plant 4 exploded making it no longer viable to live there. Even after 40+ years after the incident. After 3 clean ups in Pripyat removing the top soils, the place is still uninhabited, leaving only a ghost city trapped in the Soviet Union, with crumbling skyscrapers including hospitals, schools, and apartments, the city is so quiet, you can hear windows crack and concrete crumbling around you as the place is deprived of human life. The hospital contained the first of the victims which soon die only days later from the high doses of radiation. Also in the basement, contains a bunch of irradiated items.

Grandma Hanya

Babushka Hanya (Photo by Yes Theory)

Some people actually came back to Chernobyl after the explosion. In the outskirts of the exclusion zone, lives a babushka who came back after a year, her name is Grandma Hanya, and she was raised in a village in the zone. After interviewers asked questions, she claims that 13 people came back along with her out of 500 in the village. The villagers were evacuated 6 days after the incident and told to come back after 3 days but many have already passed on. Hanya stays in the zone as it is “her Motherland”, she farms her potatoes, drinks from her well, and creates her moonshine while also living alone at 88 years old.

The Liquidator

The liquidator (Left) explains his story to Yes Theory: Thomas Brag (Right) (Photo Taken By Yes Theory)

A liquidator who was a cleaner for the Soviet Union who was working on the same building as reactor 4 helped evacuate and clean the city of Pripyat. He suffers from PTSD from the disaster and had to stay over 35 days and nights after the explosion, which was common to all the victims of the incident. After being asked to leave a message about the aftermath of Chernobyl, he responds with “Chernobyl is a story of survival and overcoming of painful ruin and prospects for a new life” he claims that Chernobyl change his perspective in life and made him stronger.