On April 26, 1986, a devastating nuclear disaster took place at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Soviet Union. The incident is back in the public consciousness right now due to the success of the HBO show Chernobyl that dramatizes the events surrounding the accident.

Much of what happened before, during, and after the 1986 event is still the cause of much debate due to the secrecy of the Soviet Union. But one thing is for sure: the Chernobyl accident is considered the worst nuclear power plant disaster in history.

Here are 10 facts about the terrifying Chernobyl disaster and its aftermath.

1. Casualty rate: Unknown

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It’s sometimes strange how different paths in life come together and suddenly your path takes an unexpected direction. The path towards Chernobyl with @jonadbo. We have been there twice now and it remains such a special place because of its history. We ended up there to photograph abandoned locations and we got fascinated by the history. Ofcourse I have watched the HBO series and it’s made so accurate. It’s very realistic and I recognized so many places. I hope that the ghost town of Prypjat remains protected from mass tourism, that it does not deteriorate even more and that nature can still run its own way. So keep it nice. In the end we all have our reason to visit this city. First picture: @jonadbo #pripyat #chernobylzone #chernobyl #ukrain #decay #abandoned #deserted #netflix #disaster #rooftop #tsjernobyl #urbex #urbexphotography #belgiumphotography #belgiumphotographer #canonbelgium #urbexkings #abandonedafterthedark #urbextopia #urbexbelgie #forgotten #forgottenplace #chernobyltour @urbexchampions @urbex_kings @urbexeurope @urbex_3336 @abandonedafterdark @urbex_utopia @urbex_supreme @deurbex

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The number of victims that can be blamed on the accident ranges anywhere from 4,000 to 90,000. Two people died in the initial blast, 29 people died from radiation sickness in the months after the accident, and there are literally thousands that may die from radiation-related causes in the future.

2. A gruesome death

One of the first firefighters who responded to the accident scene was Vasily Ignatenko. He suffered a terrible two-week death from his exposure to radiation, including excreting blood and mucus 25 times a day and coughing up pieces of his own internal organs.

3. Other ailments

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⚠️ On April 26, 1986, the fourth block was destroyed, the reactor was completely destroyed. The largest accident of this kind in the history of nuclear energy, the estimated number of dead and wounded and economic damage. ⠀ ⚠️ 134 people suffered radiation sickness. More than 115 thousand people from the 30-kilometer zone were evacuated. More than 600 thousand people took part in the aftermath of the accident. During the first three months after the accident, 31 people died, another 19 deaths from 1987 to 2004 can be explained by its direct consequences. ⠀ ⚠️ Unlike the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the explosion resembled a very powerful "dirty bomb" – radioactive contamination became the main striking factor.

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People in neighboring areas had to flee their homes and complained of such symptoms as “black spots,” bodies getting “fat, like a barrel,” and turning “black, like coal, and shrinking.”

4. Radiophobia

Because women were terrified of possible radiation poisoning, there were an estimated 100,000-200,000 abortions in Europe after the Chernobyl disaster.

5. Dead trees everywhere

The area around the nuclear power plant became known as The Red Forest because the trees died and turned a ginger color after the accident.

6. Lingerers

Although it’s illegal to live in the area around the plant known as the Zone of Alienation, or the Exclusion Zone, it’s estimated that 130-150 people still live there, many of them older women taking care of their family’s land.

7. Poor animals

If you’ve seen the show, you know that people were not allowed to evacuate with their pets. This actually happened and units were sent in to put the animals down.

8. But…there are still hundreds of dogs there

Descendants of the dogs who survived the aftermath of the disaster still live in the Exclusion Zone. There are an estimated 300 stray dogs here. You can help them out by donating HERE.

9. Tourist spot

Tourists can visit the Exclusion Zone, and it’s actually become pretty trendy after the success of the HBO show about the disaster.

10. Ghost town

There is an abandoned amusement park in nearby Pripyat that looks like something out of a horror film.

While it’s truly terrifying what happened at Chernobyl, the strength that the people of Russia have shown in the face of unimaginable devastation should be commended.