Meet the Man Living in the Dust of a Chernobyl Radioactive Disaster

On: March 25, 2019
In: Health
By: Abhishek Dey

Ivan Shamyanok, the ninety-year old said to Reuters that not deserting your birthplace is the secret to a long life despite of the fact that, that Belarusian village was poisoned with radioactive fallout from a nuclear disaster.

On the 26th of April, in 1986, a substandard test at a nuclear plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, followed by a Soviet republic, sent clouds of flaming nuclear objects to every corners of Europe and bounded people more than 100,000 to abscond a everlastingly infected ‘exclusion zone’ spreading across the Ukraine-Belarus border.

The village of Tulgovich, is on the border of that area. It is of 2,600 square kilometers (1,000 square miles) which is roughly the size of Luxembourg. He and his wife refused to relocate, but. They not once felt any adverse effects from the radiation.

“So far, so good. The doctors came yesterday, put me on the bed and checked and measured me. They said ‘everything’s fine with you, granddad,’” Shamyanok said.

He said that his sister lived there with her husband. They decided to leave and soon enough they were dead, of anxiety. He said he was not anxious. He used to sing a little, take a round in his yard, take things slowly and he live he said.

The upcoming anniversary, which will be the 30th anniversary of the disaster, shone a new ray of light on the long lasting impact on human of the worst nuclear condense in the history.

According to the official report, toll of the short-term death from the accident was 31. Unofficially, many more died of the illnesses from radiation such as cancer. The total count of death and the long-lasting health effects stays a matter of extreme debate.

Shamyanok said, “Life didn’t change much after the meltdown at Chernobyl, the world’s worst nuclear disaster. I with my family continued to eat vegetables and fruit grown in our own backyard and we kept cows, pigs and chickens for the meat, milk and eggs”.

He further adds,”Now that my wife has died and my children moved away, me and my nephew, who lives on the other side of the village, are the only people left.” The ones who wanted to move back have died already.

Shamyanok leads a hushed life. He wakes up at 6 a.m., when they play the national anthem on the radio, lights his cast iron stove, heats up his breakfast and he feeds his pigs and his dog.

There is a mobile shop that operates out of the back of a car, it visits the village twice a week. On Saturdays, Shamyanok’s granddaughter visits and cooks food for the week and she cleans his house.

He said, “I don’t have any problems with my health, but I take medicine sometimes and drink a small glass of vodka before meals – to help the appetite.”