The Chernobyl nuclear disaster may have happened more than three decades ago, but the world is nowhere close to forgetting it. Not when we have shows like HBO's Chernobyl mini-series stirring a lot of interest in this catastrophe.
Today, many people call this place the Zone. Chernobyl has always been famous, and most probably, it always will be.
HBO is not the only entertainment outfit to take an interest in the Chernobyl disaster story. Today, there are several documentaries, films, articles, video games, and books based on this disaster, even though it only took a night to turn this place into one of the most dangerous places globally.
In fact, even today, many people have the good sense to avoid visiting Chernobyl. Of course, we also have daredevils who take pride in doing the impossible.
It also turns out there are people still living there despite all the dreadful and far-reaching dangers of making this decision.
Lately, An English Vlogger Visited The Actual Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
Benjamin Rich blogs about travel on his YouTube channel, "Bald and Bankrupt." He began his vlogging journey back in 2018 by featuring Indian subcontinental areas and post-Soviet states.
Eventually, he decided to pay the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, also known as The Zone, a visit. This place consists of a 30-kilometer radius around the Chernobyl Power Plant.
The area is officially declared an exclusion zone, which means it's considered too dangerous to live in. At least, that was the case a couple of decades back.
However, the place is still dangerous, although radiation levels have gone down substantially, making it possible for people to visit the area.
The zone is located on the border of Ukraine and Belarus, and Rich choose to explore the Belarusian side of the zone.
People Should Not Overstay Their Welcome
The zone might have been hazardous some 30 years back, but even though people can visit today, they should not spend too much time there.
However, a lot of people were surprised to hear about Igor. Rich met him while visiting the Zone.
It seems like he has spent his whole life in the Exclusion Zone.
First, a local dropped Rich off, and from there, he started to get deeper into the zone. Granted, most of it is a complete wasteland today.
The place has been poisoned by the disaster that made Chernobyl so famous. Everything, including the soil, was contaminated by the radioactive material.
As Rich visited the area, he admitted to feeling uneasy touching things fearing that the radioactive poison might rub off on him.
However, most of the area is a natural wasteland. Nevertheless, once in a while, you will come across a home or a gravesite.
To be safe, Rich brought a knife with him. After all, he was likely to meet with a bear or a wolf since the houses were so far apart.
Many former Chernobyl residents would grow things that would attract wildlife.
Rich Got Invited By A Thankful Resident
When Rich offered a guy he met on his excursion a drink, he was immediately invited into his house. The man was named Igor, and he lives there.
Even more surprising is the fact that he stays there with his mother, who is aged 93.
Rich was trying not to look or sound rude as he passed by after seeing Igor. Therefore, he greeted him and offered him a drink.
After the gesture, Igor invited him inside to meet his mother. He also saw the rest of his family, albeit in pictures.
The 93-Year-Old Mom Also Lives With Him
Granted, we can't really imagine that the Zone is completely uninhabitable, although in theory, it is.
However, Igor and his mother are not the only ones calling this place their home. Apparently, the 30-kilometer zone is home to about 200 people. Many of them are senior citizens, and their average age is 63 years old.
In 1986, about 1,200 people were living there illegally. The government has been asking them to leave, but over time, they have gotten tired of the appeals and began offering limited support to them.
Igor's Mother Has Been Living Here For Most Of Her Life
By the way, she is a mother of 10, and she has spent most of her life there.
According to Igor, the government would come and measure radiation levels to determine if the residents were eligible for additional pay due to the harmful environment.
However, these benefits stopped a while back. Apparently, the radiation had reduced substantially.
That said, it's not like the radiation seems to bother these people at all.
While they were talking, Igor's mother gave Rich some ladushki, which is a pancake you are supposed to dip in milk. It turns out that she was born in 1927, and she is a mother to 10 kids, although 3 of them have passed away.
The rest of them are living elsewhere.
Igor's Mother Is Among Those Who Returned After Evacuation
Igor's mother is among 200 samosely or self-settlers who came back after the evacuation that followed the explosion at the Chernobyl Power Plant. However, despite the presence of long-term inhabitants, many structures in the territory have been abandoned.
There are also some grave sites.
Since Rich made the video, it has had millions of views and a lot of likes. Many people have also shared it, and it was featured on several websites.
What do you think about all this? Would you agree to live in the Zone like these 200 people have?