25 years ago today, a catastrophic nuclear disaster took place at the Chernobyl power plant in the city of Pripyat. Haunted by the specter of radiation, the one time city transformed into a spread of creepy abandoned buildings and one of the most poisonous places on the planet – the Red Forest. With humans gone, the town has been taken back by wildlife. Today, wolves wander abandoned schools with kitschy Soviet propaganda peeling from the wall and bears lumber through the overgrown amusement park that opened the day after the disaster, April 27, 1986.
In this video by the crew at Vice, Shane Smith goes on a tour of Pripyat to hunt for mutant beasts and explore derelict buildings. The abandoned radioactive town is an eerie ghost-scape, but many travelers have been making the 100km journey from Kiev to visit this strange example of an abandoned modern town. The video is an interesting and somewhat humorous look inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone.
It is hard to believe that it has only been a week since the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, devastating a number of areas in that country. Over that time period, the world has watched as the Japanese people have struggled to get back on their feet, while dealing with the threat of an equally dangerous disaster in the form of a nuclear meltdown. Earlier this week, National Geographic posted several updates on the situation in Japan, helping to bring a bit of clarity to what has happened there.
Nat Geo’s coverage of the Japanese tsunami and its aftermath began last week with early news and images from the scene. That was followed up with ongoing coverage of the struggles to prevent nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. But as we all know, amazing photographs have always been the signature of National Geographic, and perhaps their most compelling coverage came in the form of an online gallery featuring 20 heart wrenching images that show the aftermath of this natural disaster.
In the wake of this catastrophe, there have been a number of charitable and relief organizations that have gone into action in Japan. Nat Geo has also put together a list of such organizations that they recommend, with information on how we can contribute to their efforts. To find out more about those relief agencies, and how you can donate directly from your mobile phone, click here.
With the amount of destruction and ruin that these disasters have brought on, it could be years before Japan completely returns to normal. Lets hope that further problems will be avoided in the days ahead, and that the country can get on with the business of rebuilding itself.
[Photo credit: Asahi Shimbun, Reuters]