Portfolios > Chernobyl and Pripyat

Olga's song
Olga's song
digital
2008

A monument to the Liquidators lies alongside the road to Pripyat, at the riverside in Strakholissya. The Liquidators were sent into Chernobyl to help put out the reactor fire, and to generally "clean up" the area after the disaster. Many died shortly thereafter. There is a beautiful flower garden here which is maintained by a woman named Olga whose family was and still is devastated by the effects of Chernobyl. Her son Anatoly, who was a liquidator, died in 1999 due to his exposure to the radioactive fallout at Chernobyl. 7 months later, her husband died of "a broken heart". Her daughter is also disabled from the fallout.
Olga sang a song for me here, and I spent nearly an hour talking with her. When we parted, she pulled up a mass of flowers and gave them to me. She said that they would die anyway in the heat (it was well over 90 degrees outside). She also told me that nothing could ever bring life back to her, not even the flowers.