Chernobyl has seen one of the worst man-made disasters in human history and HBO's latest miniseries Chernobyl has renewed people's interest in knowing more about what happened there.
These facts will shed light on the intensity of harm caused by the deadly nuclear accident and its aftermath.
1. While the exact number of deaths from the Chernobyl accident is not known, estimates suggest that the mortality toll could be somewhere between 4,000 to 90,000.
2. Vasily Ignatenko, one of the first firefighters to respond to the nuclear accident at Chernobyl reportedly excreted blood and mucus stool more than 25 times a day and coughed up pieces of his own internal organs.
3. Vasily's body was so swollen at the time of death that his shoes and clothes did not fit him.
4. Some other people who died due to radiation either got fat like a barrel or black like coal before death.
5. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, an estimated 1,00,000-2,00,000 abortions took place in Western Europe because pregnant women feared significant health risks to unborn children.
6. Most of the trees surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear plant perished due to high levels of radiation and the area came to be known as 'Red Forest'.
7. Although it is illegal to live in Pripyat, around 130-150 people still live there.
8. Of the thousands of residents who returned to live illegally in Pripyat after the catastrophe, only less than 200 are still alive.
9. When Pripyat was abandoned, people weren't allowed to carry their pets with them. Most of them pinned notes to their doors requesting the authorities not to kill their pets.
10. As depicted in the show, squads were sent from door to door to shoot animals in the area surrounding the nuclear plant.
11. Chernobyl has become an accidental wildlife sanctuary in the period spanning over 30 years since its abandonment.
12. In the first five years after the nuclear accident, cancer cases among children increased by more than 90%.
13. Despite the contamination caused, the Chernobyl nuclear plant continued operating till December 2000.
14. It took more than 25 years to build a new shelter over the damaged nuclear reactor at an estimated cost of 1.5 billion euros.
15. Nuclear rain from radioactive elements in Chernobyl fell as far away as Scotland and Ireland.
16. Living conditions in the exclusion zone around the nuclear plant are pathetic with no schools or healthcare because it is illegal to live there.
17. The dolls shown in various pictures at Chernobyl cannot be explained as no one knows who put them there.
18. Experts believe that the area around the power plant will remain uninhabitable to humans for up to 20,000 years from the time of the accident.
Life in Chernobyl will never be the same again.