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Paul Fusco

Over twenty years have passed since the meltdown at Chernobyl. Paul Fusco faces the dark legacy of the modern technological nightmare that continues to plague those exposed to its destructive radiation.

I wonder oftentimes why the children suffer. It seems to me that the person handing out the poison should be the one that dies. It is sad and horrific to see what man's actions do to the young. But there is hope in the unfailing love of God. It is hard to see Him through the fog of man's folly but He is there and He is aware of the dark paths men tread, blindly leading children behind them. Despite the shadows that encroach upon our lives, God's light shines brightly. Though one cannot possibly see good in such dark horror, the lights of the loving souls that care for these victims bring hope to a heavy heart. In our worst times, God is there with an outstretched hand to draw us close and comfort us. Sadly, we take those hard times as a time to blame and turn from God in our pain and terror and anger. A message of hope to the world: God is listening and He is here, waiting, for you. I was unaware of Chernobyl and the incidents wrapped tightly in a cloth of smothering silence. I am no longer unaware. The narration and the photos on this site, found through Stumble Upon, have shown me a great deal and I will share it with the world because silence hurts us all.
I remember clearly the photographs and reports that came out when the tragedy of Chernobyl occurred. I also remember clearly how the politicians and those in power in Russia and every country that had Nuclear Power, tried desperately to cover it up and make it "appear" that it wasn’t as bad as we feared. Thank God for reporters, photographers and others who care like Mr. Fusco. The "fall out" from this horrible disaster will never end, and prayerfully no one will ever forget what happens when mankind tries to play God. I pray that part of the fall out of Chernobyl will be continued pressure on politicians, leaders and certain companies to stop "experimenting" with human lives. Mr. Fusco your photography is captivating, ghastly and but also heart warming and gentle. Your words are moving and said with such compassion that together with your photographs I cried. I cry for the mothers that have children and for the women who are afraid to have children. I cry for Russia.
You impact me. Until today I never think more about the disaster... MrDrap 26 years old, Spain.
I was born and raised in Ukraine until age 14 then we moved to US. When Chernobil catastrophy happen I was 4 years old. I remember my parents telling me that Leonid Toptunov use to say that his plant is so safe that he could put it under his bed at night... Thank you for your photographs and your commentary. I can't stop crying. I feel for those children and I feel for those adults who are taking care of them. I can't imagine how it must feel to see this everyday. Thank you.
Anyone who studied Soviet military thought knew that by the early 80s both the Soviet Government and military had a belief that Russia could win WWIII. It had set up its ICBM forces to withstand a first attack and then to respond with several (3 to 4) salvos of ICBMs. The Soviet’s planning called for the survivability of most of its military structure through various means. As for what the common Soviet citizen thought is unimportant, since they were but thralls under the Soviet tyrannical system. No doubt most of them would have preferred to avoid a nuclear war. As for the United States, its military was designed mainly to offer a response and no serious plans were ever considered to launch a war on the Soviets. American plans were built around the idea of Containment of Russia. The American people themselves were totally against a nuclear war – their main argument among themselves was how heavily armed the US nuclear forces ought to be. But the U.S. government at that time (pre-911) had to take in consideration how its people felt – and Americans in the early 80s still disliked war because of the Vietnam experience. The Chernobyl disaster was a major wake up call to both the Soviets and the American nuclear planners. Even though the Chernobyl reactor’s nuclear pile produced a longer term and more deadly form of fallout than would have a nuclear weapon, the effect on Belarus was a good example of what the effects of nuclear radiation would be like on Russia as a whole if there was a full scale nuclear war. Especially since Russia had many reactors and several of them could have been purposely targeted and damaged in a nuclear war. Check the dates: April 25th, 1986 Chernobyl disaster. May 29th, 1986 - “Abandoning its previous refusal to negotiate reductions in offensive strategic weapons until the United States agrees to renounce SDI, the Soviet Union introduces a new, two-part proposal in Geneva. It offers "interim" reductions in strategic offensive forces if both sides agree not to withdraw from the 1972 ABM Treaty for 15 to 20 years.” The Chernobyl zone of Belarus died for mankind.
Although how horrible this is, the powers that be have not learnt a thing from Chernobyl, within 5 years of this terrible accident America started a nuclear war in Iraq with DU Weapon's which Is still going on today, the pictures of these poor children are the same as the images coming from Basra 2007 but with Depleted Uranium, Chernobyl was an accident, the war in the middle east is genocide by design.
If the people of Chernobyl… the mothers, the fathers, the children of this disaster got only half as much press as a war or a hurricane, things might be different. All these people and all the mistakes are meant to be forgotten.
Because mankind will not listen, he will soon push the botton on a nuclear war that will cause the whole world to become just like Chernobyl. There is hope for you and your family. Please check out the web site below. Okieshowedem
I am embarassed to write that I truly had no clue what Chernobyl was about, or even what happend. In 1986 I was 12. Now I am 31 and this is the first time I have ever REALLY heard about Chernobyl to this extent. Here in America, it really does not seem like Chernobyl was/is a big issue. Right after I saw this website, I began doing some simple research through primary "news stations" here. For the most part, all I can find if I stay in the borders of American news is that Chernobyl exploded and caused some minor problems. This is not minor. And I can not believe how little attention these people are getting. How little people hear about this ON GOING disaster. We hear more about the war in Iraq, and even that is downplayed to what seems like a simple battle.. yet thousands die everyday. I am grieving in a strange and painful way for the people of Chernobyl, yet I have no idea who they are or what they are about. It amazes me , how little america actually gets in the way of real news and how filtered even THAT news is. It feels like I am living underwater in this country, and all the world is just out of my grasp. I dont know what I would do for these people as a human if I could, but it really saddens me that very little is spoken about this situation to where , if I could have done something.. I would never know what needed to be done. Thank you, for all who put this together. I dont know what it can do for those people, but I do hope it helps.
This photo essay is the best I have ever seen. All I can say is that it has had a deep impact on me.
A day ago i came here and read an account how Chernobyl taught the Russians and Americans that nuclear war was impoosible to win. But for some reason that message has been removed. i second this. i think Chernobyl was not just a horrible accident. i think it served a higher purpose, and those poor people did not suffer with nothing good coming out of it. how horrible it is to suffer and no good comes of it. Paul Fusco must not want suffering to be offset by a good outcome. just three years after Chernobyl the Russians and Americans were ready to set down to agree on major arms reductions. i forgot the name of the person who made the first post but i thought he was spot on. :)
I read other comments that said that they had no idea. Sadly, I fall into that category. I sat quietly for a while after watching the slideshow. I was saddened, appalled, outraged and emotionally overwhelmed. My brain quickly reach a point one might call "overload". I am incapable of fully expressing what I am feeling inside. What does life mean to these children? To some, obviously, it means pain. To others it means isolation, fear, hopelessness, despair. In short, everything that makes "life" a living hell. For those of us that believe in a benevolent God, we pray that there is hope when God brings them home. Man has done some amazing noble things, but it is overshadowed by this. The balance scales simply are useless except to show that humans are also capable of supreme acts of horror; not only against humans, but against the planet that we call home. I feel that any forgiveness from God could not possibly come to us especially if we have not at least learned from this monstrous set of events that we inflicted on helpess children and families.
I look at this for the first time on the eve of Thanksgiving here in a middle-sized American city and I cry. I never cry, but I cried for a very short while because of this, because I think of tomorrow, of my family, my home, my blessings... We are all normal. I have problems, perhaps, but when I compare my problems, my worst days, my worst with even the best days of their lives... Well, perhaps that's why I cried. We are all so normal and we take every single normal second for granted. We have no problems. I have never had a problem in my entire life, not compared to these poor children, to these poor people. I am so thankful now. I am not thankful for Chernobyl, I am not thankful for our dangerous and hateful world, but I am thankful for my life. I am thankful.
I have been reading through many of the comments on this site, and I agree with so many--looking at these pictures and testimonies makes me weep and feel so blessed for the "problems" in my life. As a Ukrainian, and a member of a large Ukrainian family and community, this photo essay hits me very close to home. The tradgedy of Chernobyl exists on in our lives every day. Many comments on this site have asked how you can help, and I wanted to share a website that can help you get involved and help: or google "children of chernobyl" and about a dozen charities benifiting these children and thier families will come up (the site I included is the one that my family and I support). Thank you to those of you that have put this together, and to those of you who took the time to learn more and be moved. God bless.
i think that all nuclear power plants should be shut down even thoght it was an accident for chernobyl. but it could happen again and look at all the childeren that are seen in these pictures! its sad!
excuse me, eric e rumsey. you my friend are an idiot. you are actually taking into serious consideration, getting your information from a website that actually tries to claim that chernobyl is the biggest bluff, and that all these birth defects and illnesses are a hoax? that is like saying the holocaust wasn't real.
to anyone who has posted about how this might be due to the "sad condition of public health" and not the radiation from chernobyl. you shouldn't get your news from someplace as biased as the international atomic energy agency. you are pretty much just like the people that were using the phrase "radiophobia".
these pictures are very powerful and it makes me sad that this even happened but i hope that nothing like this happens again becasue it was just so sad. Keep everyone in your hearts.
What they did?? R we livung such a dangerous world. O my god. What r in those Photos. make me cry. My heart broken at all. What can we do for making this world safer for our childs, We r helpless. I know.
Comment posted by G. Ronald Dalton (not verified) on December 17th, 2006 "It seems clear that your pictures do not distinguish between the sad condition of public health in part of rural Russia that happens to be around the area of Chernobyl and conditions that can be medically linked to the Chernobyl reactor accident. The IAEA Chernobyl report: may help you understand and distinguish between poor helth care and radiation caused illnesses. The frist is a very large problem in rural Russia, the second is very difficult to demonstrate with the exception of thyroid abnormalities in children exposed to Chernobyl." WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? Do you work for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission? Are you saying that because there are other people in the photos that are not victims of the accident, Mr Fusco is making this appear that it is worse than it is? You are in ignorant denial, to think that that much radioactive material can be blasted into the air and spread by the fire, that there are less people affected by this than by mental illness in belarus or maybe I'm the ignorant one. Think of this, in every nuclear power plant, the nuclear reactor serves only one purpose. To boil water! The steam spins a turbine, which drives the generator. Do we need to use a nuclear reactor to do what solar thermal or geothermal can, make steam? Neither of which can cause this much damage, be so deadly and effect use for so long. America, we already had our Chernobyl. Three Mile Island in fact had its fuel rods melt down. There were just a few inches of steel and a few feet of concrete between the molten blob of radio active fuel and the dirt under the reactor. If they didn't get the cooling water restored when they did, it would have melted through easly. Through the intervention of God , who appears to have been distracted when Chernobyl happened or by shear luck, we were spared. Don't take mine or anyone's word on anything this serious. Read up on it.
It is undescribable what our heads think the most when we see these photos and hear what you say. It's madness, i don't know if i would think that its better for the affected childrens to die or keep the treatments. I think now how can exist such peoples that use drugs and dont care about their health even a lilttle bit, when these childrens born with this crazy diseases and can do nothing... It is so sad, but in sametime it's beautiful to see the nurses taking care of the childrens, they're like angels. I'm from Brazil, i have 19 years old, and i do believe that these childrens that are dying like that way are playng in heaven right now. Great job and God bless you for this.
You people are all falling for this propaganda. Here is another site with some truth.
I think this is a work of propaganda. You don't even claim that the illnesses displayed by theses children are caused from radiation associated with Chernobyl. Another site with great photos and info not as dire as this agenda driven work is
ummm. it's not "rural Russia" it's Ukraine. might want to get that fact straight....
Mr. Fusco - Chernoby Legacy was very difficult to view, so I can't imagine how hard this must have been to witness first hand. How sad the lives of so many of these people must be.
The USA has a health system much worse than the Russian system as there are millions of Americans that cannot afford the most basic health care, despite fighting for their country. Ask what your country can do for you NOT what you can do for your country. Kennedy got it wrong as usual. The country is filled with greedy Doctors and Lawyer who will soon destroy the country. Lets watch! Gordon
Thank you Mr. Paul Fusco! I saw this essay of yours a few days ago and I felt the need to watch it again. And again I cried and praied in front of the image of the sufferance residing in each of your photos. And I remembered what the greed for power and the irresponsibility (which were both so specific for the comunism) could do. And indeed, as Aleysa's mother said, yes, we have to see these picures, to see what they've done! To remember and try to imagine what's in all those parents' soul, at least only for the very moments we look at their black and white sufferance. Alex Popa Bucharest - Romania
Thank you for rememembering us. Chernobyl and its results should not be forgotten.
To zarazem straszne, ale różmież fascynujące. Ja, mieszkając obok tego, bo w Polsce, tak naprawdę nie miałam pojęcia jakie skutki są do teraz po wybuchu. A ludzie tam żyją, ludzie uprawiają tam te przysłowiowe truskawki na tej skażonej ziemi, bo rosną większe, jedzą to, wraz z radioaktywnymi elementami i tak w kółko... to straszne, upiorne, okropne, ale to jest, to dzieje się naprawdę i to jest właśnie w tym wszystkim najgorsze - to nie jest żsden film i żaden przerysowany obraz, ale prawdziwe życie...
Touching, brilliant, almost made me cry at some of the pictures. Amazing, but creepy at the same time.
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