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The Chernobyl exclusion area is huge. This map shows how big.

Radiation contamination from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident in May 1986 lasts longer and spread further than most of us can imagine.

After explosions at the plant, people in the surrounding area were evacuated and had to settle elsewhere. An exclusion or no-go zone was established in Ukraine and Belarus that stretches over 4,700 km2 (1,814 square miles). Much of this vast area cannot be repopulated for tens of thousands of years.

To give an idea of the scale of the abandoned area, this map shows how it compares to other places on the planet. See how the Chernobyl exclusion area matches to a city or region you know.

Thirty years on, the Chernobyl disaster continues. More than 5 million people still live in contaminated areas outside these exclusion zones. Families are exposed to radiation on a daily basis through their food, water and land. But their governments are trying to cut protection programs that ensure much needed monitoring, medical treatment and contamination-free food.

People affected are fighting back. You can help by spreading this message of solidarity.