Disaster comes in differing dark shades of bleak and deadly flavors of horrendous dismay, such as environmental, economic, and natural. Across the globe, there are hundreds of ghost towns and deserted residential places which were abandoned due to disasters.
In 1986, Reactor 4 exploded at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Four workers were killed instantly. Steam explosions and fires released about 5% of the radioactive reactor core into the atmosphere. The nuclear meltdown blew downwind on cities and even into different countries.
The nearby city of Pripyat, Ukraine, was home to the workers of Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.
The Chernobyl explosion happened at around one in the morning when most of the 50,000 people in Pripyat were sleeping.
40 hours later, residents were ordered to evacuate. By then, many of the people had suffered from radiation poisoning.
Pripyat had one hospital, 3 clinics, 21 schools, 3 cultural centers, 10 gyms, 10 shooting galleries, 3 indoor pools, and one railway station. It also had one recreation park, 35 playgrounds, 25 malls and stores, and 27 cafes. But in a blink, Pripyat no longer had people.
(image credits: wikipedia,david-angel,dirjournal,wikimedia)
Pripyat is still mostly abandoned. Very few workers returned. Reports of how many people died or will develop cancer and die due to the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl are widely differing.
Welcome to hell ― or Centralia, Pennsylvania, where the coal mine started to burn underground in 1962. The mine fire is still burning today beneath a ghost town. The Post Office even revoked Centralia’s zip code.
Most of the buildings were lost to fires or acts of nature. In 2010, only five homes remain. State officials are trying to vacate any remaining residents and demolish what’s left of the town.
(image credits: wikipedia,Angela Parriott,road_less_trvled,t3hwit)
A time capsule was buried in 1966 and is supposed to be opened in 2016 when former residents were to return to their lives. With the underground mines still on fire, it seems doubtful Centralia will be able to start over in six years.
Before the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, Varosha was a little slice of beach tourist heaven. In fact, before war and terror, it was one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Even the rich and famous played in Varosha.
Sure, if you can get around the barbed wire fences then you could have what’s left of crumbling Varosha to yourself. Of course, you will be shot if you are caught. But then . . . this ghost town might be worth the gamble?
Rybachiy Nuclear Submarine Base
During the race to win the Cold War, Bechyovinka was a town associated with a secret Russian submarine base on the island of Kamchatka. Rybachiy Nuclear Submarine Base was Russia’s largest nuclear submarine facility by the 1980s.
The people were ordered to leave. The area was rumored to be contaminated by elevated radiation levels. Decommissioned or out-of-service nuclear submarines docked there are not all de-fueled. There was also a problem in the past with platinum catalysts being stolen.
(image credits:English Russia)
Whether poisonous or not with nuclear waste, the secret strategic base across Avacha Bay from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, went from booming to bust overnight. It’s now a ghost town.
San Juan Parangaricutiro in Michoacán, México
The the Mexican villages of San Juan Parangaricutiro and Parícutin, located in Michoacán, suffered a natural disaster. In 1943, a cinder cone volcano grew out of a farmer’s field and reached five stories tall in a week. After a year, the volcano had grown over 1,102 feet tall.
Volcán de Parícutin erupted for eight years, burying two villages under ashes and lava. Neither lava nor asphyxiation killed anyone, but three people died from lightning strikes caused by the eruptions. This church in San Juan Parangaricutiro is the only remaining building.
In the Pilbara region of Western Australia, Wittenoom was the biggest town in the 1950s. The above images show typical working conditions in the mine and toddlers playing in asbestos-laced dirt in town.
By 1966, the town was shutdown for health reasons due to asbestos mining at the nearby Wittenoom Gorge.
(image credits: asbestosdiseases,dirjournal,google images,riderageradio,afildes)
Despite street signs which label roads to nowhere, the streets are closed and overgrown. The town’s name was removed from official maps. About eight residents live in this otherwise abandoned town.
Gilman started in 1886 during the Colorado Silver Boom, but Eagle Mine later became the center of lead and zinc mining in Colorado. In 1984, the EPA ordered Gilman to be abandoned because of toxic pollutants and contamination of ground water.
(image credits: wikipedia,panoramio,rockymountainprofiles)
Gilman is now a ghost town, but nearly every glass window has been busted by vandals. Despite the environmental cleanup effort, “the air is toxic in the drifts and shafts, concentrated pools of toxins are still present, and heavy metals abound in and around the mine.”
The medieval Italian village of Craco was built on a steep summit for defensive reasons, but that was no protection from the earthquakes that attacked the town.
Although the village can be dated back to 1060, conditions were always poor for agriculture.
By the mid-twentieth century, reoccurring earthquakes and landslides had made parts of Craco uninhabitable. In 1963, the remaining 1,800 residents were moved from Craco to a nearby village. Tourists poke around in the crumbling decay of Craco.
Kadykchan, Russia, was a coal-mining town. It suffered an economic disaster. After the collapse of the USSR, there were no funds to support small towns.
In fact, Kadykchan was completely cut off ― communications were disconnected and running water was discontinued. The residents had to pick up and move.
(image credits:English Russia,English Russia)
Other than mold and creepy crawlies that have no doubt moved in, a person with survival skills and hermit tendencies could live in Kadykchan.
Disaster But NOT Abandoned Bhopal, India
Bhopal, India, is not abandoned but suffered one of the most tragic environmental disasters the world has ever seen. During the middle of the night in 1984, the Union Carbide plant which manufactured pesticides, leaked 32 tons of deadly methyl isocyanate. Thousands died and thousands more were deformed, blinded, and disabled. More than 2,000 bodies were cremated in one day. The soil and water near the factory are toxic from the still leaking plant. One of the worst industrial disasters ever and there is no massive clean up, no justice?