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You're reading: Pripyat residents still grieve for homes they left behind
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Pripyat, a city where thousands of Ukrainian families once happily lived, has turned into a ghost town after it was evacuated in 1986 after an explosion at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant, the deadliest civil nuclear disaster in history.

A product of Soviet urban planning, Pripyat was the closest town to the power plant. It was set up in 1970 to mostly house families that worked at the plant. In 1986, the town had over 45,000 residents – all of them evacuated the next day after the April 26 Chornobyl nuclear disaster. More than 2 million people in more than 5,000 cities and villages in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia were affected by radiation. But 28 years later, for many it is the psychological trauma that runs deeper.

On April 27, a day after the explosion, Pripyat residents were told to take “some bare essentials” for a maximum three-day leave.

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