Officially, any settlement in the 30-kilometre exclusion zone surrounding the destroyed reactor in Chernobyl is forbidden. But there are exceptions as hundreds of people have come back to live a quiet, solitary existence.


30 years after the chernobyl disaster life in the contaminated areas of Belarus seems to be back to normal. But the reality is much harsher.

The Danish evolutionary biologist Anders Pape Møller says after more than 20 years research on barn swallows in the evacuation zone: "the swallows are afflicted by the radiation to an alarming degree."

In 1986 and 1987, around 800,000 predominantly young soldiers were deployed at the destroyed reactor in Chernobyl as liquidators to limit the extent of the disaster. Of the over 350,000 Ukrainian liquidators, only half were still alive in 2011, according to official figures.

Living in the evacuation zone (all images: Urs Fitze)

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Deformed Nature: Spider Webs in the Evacuatin Zone (all images: Timothy Mousseau

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Vassili Alexejewitsch Marchinko: nuclear engineer, liquidator, contaminated by radiation

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