As HBO’s five-part Chernobyl miniseries depicts, the devastation caused by the 1986 Ukraine Nuclear disaster was wide-ranging and long-lasting. In the aftermath of the incident, Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant was left in near-ruins, the population (nearly 50,000 people) of the nearby town of Pripyat evacuated entirely, and kept empty to this day.
Luckily, despite the complete shutdown of both the plant and the neighboring town, many photos exist of the devastation that was left in the footprint of the man-made disaster, both in Ukraine and the surrounding areas.
Below, check out some of the most striking—and chilling—images from the aftermath of the incident.
The effects of the disaster weren’t limited to Ukraine—in this photo, produce is checked for radiation in a France market.
People flying in and out of the area were also scanned for radioactivity.
The exterior of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant following the explosion of Reactor #4.
The “Elephant’s Foot” of Chernobyl. In the immediate aftermath of the incident, a few minutes near this spot would have killed a person. Now, the radiation has decayed, though it’s still very radioactive and dangerous.
This young Russian girl lost her leg in the aftermath of the incident, due to the radiation.
Gas masks are seen on the floor of an abandoned school.
This photo, taken in 2003, shows an abandoned bumper cart ride in Pripyat, the town of nearly 50,000 that was evacuated following the Chernobyl incident and never allowed back.
With this photo taken in 2006, these Ukranian children were clearly not alive at the time of the incident—but nonetheless have been late victims, due to the fumes and radiation that lasts.