Life after Chernobyl

Quintina Valero

In April 2015 I travelled to Ukraine to document the long-lasting implications of Chernobyl’s nuclear disaster for both the environment and the people 30 years after the disaster. The Chernobyl’s accident seems to have been forgotten by society. I wanted to give a voice to the lives of those carrying on with the poisonous legacy of Chernobyl. In my first trip, I visited the 30 km exclusion zone where around 200 people are still living. For my research I interviewed doctors working at the National Institute Cancer Research in Ukraine, NGOs working with victims of Chernobyl and scientists who are studying the DNA modifications both in plants and human beings. I become very interested in remote areas, which are still contaminated by radiation and where people have limited access to hospitals and doctors.

“Life after Chernobyl” portrays life both inside the 30 Km exclusion zone and Narodichi region, 50 km  southwest of the nuclear plant. This turned out to be one of the worst hit areas by radiation but only detected five years later. With my collective “Food of war” we are helping to raise awareness of the Chernobyl’s accident through European exhibitions, talks and conferences. We have also collaborated with artists reflecting on the consumption of food in countries where radiation travelled after the 1986’s accident. Life after Chernobyl is an ongoing project that I would like to develop into a book and a short film.

To know more or would like to support this ongoing project, please follow this link

Natalia, school’s teacher stands by the entrance of Maksimovichy village, where many houses were abandoned after Chernobyl’s disaster.
Nastia Natsik with her daughters Iuliana, Madina and Lia in her family house in Khristinovka. Lia, 2 suffers from a brain tumour. Her father,Emil, 37, fled the conflict in Abkhazia (Geogia) when he was eleven, 3 years after Chernobyl’s disaster. Though evacuation was enforced in 1992, many families decided to stay.
Tatiana Ignatiuk in her kitchen in Maksimovichy, where she lives with her three children and husband who works in the forest.
Anna is holding apples from her tree. She lives in the evacuated village of Copachichi in the 30km exclusion zone of Chernobyl.
Dima, 6 years old is waiting to be seen by Alexander and Daniel, two volunteer doctors from Kiev. About 60% of children in Narodichi region suffer from malnutrition alongside cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Children are no longer considered victims of Chernobyl. Ignored by the authorities, many of those children rely on local NGOs and international aid organisations for medical treatment.

Quintina Valero