The explosion sent a cloud of radioactive material high into the air -- drifting across Ukraine's borders into Russia, Belarus, and across large parts of Europe.
About 30 people in Ukraine died in the immediate aftermath of the explosion. Thousands more are thought to have died from the effects of the disaster in the years that followed -- mainly from exposure to radiation.
In 2018, the United Nations' Vienna-based Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation said about 20,000 thyroid cancer cases were registered between 1991 and 2015 in the area surrounding the reactor, including all of Ukraine and Belarus, as well as parts of Russia.
The UN scientists also said one out of four thyroid cancer cases in the region since the Chernobyl disaster were caused by radiation.
In November 2016, the construction of an enormous protective shelter was completed over the contaminated reactor to prevent further radiation leaks and create the conditions for the eventual dismantling and decommissioning of the structure.
The $1.8 billion project was funded by 44 donor countries and the European Union via a special fund set up in 1997 by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
The EBRD is also providing $535 million of its resources to support the plan.
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Opposition party cancelled annual protest march commemorating victims of Chernobyl disaster after they were told that they would have to pay police for security
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