Part of the mystery and terror of the Chernobyl disaster is the invisibility of the threat. The explosion at the nuclear power plant released more radiation than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, and one might never know they were being poisoned until months, even years later.
This has been the worst nuclear power plant accident in history in terms of cost and casualties. It is one of only two classified as a level 7 event, which is the maximum classification, on the International Nuclear Event Scale. The battle to contain the contamination and avert a greater catastrophe ultimately involved over 500,000 workers and cost an estimated 18 billion rubles. During the accident itself, 31 people died, and long-term effects such as cancers are still being investigated.
From 1986 to 2000, 350,400 people were evacuated and resettled from the most severely contaminated areas of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine. According to official post-Soviet data, about 60% of the fallout landed in Belarus.