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Photos show what daily life is really like inside Chernobyl’s exclusion zone, one of the most polluted areas in the world

On April 26, 1986, reactor number four at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, located in the then-Soviet Union, experienced a power surge, resulting in an explosion that sent a cloud of radioactive materials across parts of Europe.

The accident has gone down in history as the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

Around 350,000 people were evacuated following the explosion, with many leaving their homes and all of their worldly belongings behind forever. The areas surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, including the nearby city of Pripyat, have since deteriorated into abandoned ghost towns.

But some residents have returned to their villages following the explosion and evacuation, despite dangerous levels of radiation, and some remain there today.

Here’s what daily life looks like in one of the most polluted parts of the world.