Twenty years ago today, something so horrendous occurred in the Soviet Union that the swath of earth on which it happened, as well as thousands of miles in every direction, remains unlivable even today.
That tragedy was, of course, the Chernobyl disaster. Today marks the 20th anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear accident. For those displaced from their homes, suffering from cancer, and still mourning the loss of family and friends who succumbed to the accident this, is not a happy day.
The Chernobyl accident affected 5 million people and is expected to kill upwards of 9,000 after all the side-effects of radiation poisoning runs its course. The radiation cloud, which swept over much of Europe, has also left a dead zone of 5,800 square miles where no one can live, raise crops, or otherwise exist. Tour groups with Geiger counters in hand are now gingerly exploring the region but only for limited amounts of time and only if the winds are blowing in a safe direction.
A number of commemorative efforts will be held today to honor the “liquidators” who were forcibly sent in to clean up the mess. The commemorations will, of course, be matched by protests against nuclear energy and inadequate financial support for those still suffering from the tragedy.
April 26 remains a black day on this planet no matter what anniversary is being commemorated. When mankind can so easily destroy a small chunk of earth and poison it for thousands of years, we need to all stop and think for a moment; the world really doesn’t need any more liquidators.