An article praising the Chernobyl plant was published in February 1986 stating that “the odds of a meltdown are one in 10,000 years.” 2 months later, one of the world’s largest nuclear disasters occurred in that very same plant. The Chernobyl Disaster was a classified as a level 7 event on the International Nuclear Event Scale, the highest level possible. The Chernobyl disaster and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster are the only two nuclear disasters in history to receive the highest level of classification.
At 1:23 a.m. on 26 April 1986, two power surges occurred in reactor four, leading to steam explosions, subsequently causing the graphite in the moderator to ignite when exposed to air. The wind carried the radioactive fallout throughout western Russia and Europe with Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus being the most contaminated. Volodymyr Pravik and his crew of firefighters were one of the first to arrive at the plant to fight the fires. By 6:35 a.m. the firefighters extinguished all the fires except for those in reactor 4 which continued for several days. Pravik died on May 9, 1986, due to severe radiation sickness; the firefighters were not told that this was a nuclear explosion with dangerous levels of radiation in the air.
In Pripyat, a nearby city, neither explosion nor evacuation were announced, but just mere hours after the explosion people were reported having severe headaches, fits of coughing and vomiting, and of having metallic tastes in their mouths. The order to evacuate Pripyat was not given until noon the next day, April 27. On April 28 at 9:00 in the evening, the Russian population was informed of the nuclear disaster with a short 20 second announcement that underplayed the severity of the situation. The supposed 3-day evacuation ended up being permanent; Pripyat is now an abandoned city and many of the articles left behind from the evacuation are still there.
“An accident has occurred at the Chernobyl Atomic Power Station; one of the nuclear reactors has been damaged. Measures are being taken to eliminate the consequences of the accident. Aid is being given to the victims. A government commission has been established.” 
In the few months after the explosion, Russian citizens were critical of how the government was dealing with the situation. Some were frustrated with how little information was given to them: “We have many evacuees here in town. Perhaps some individuals have helped them out privately. But you only hear about these things from acquaintances or neighbors-you can’t find out anything at all from our newspapers or local radio reports.”  Though special focus was given to evacuating children, some expressed difficulty in evacuating their children.  A newspaper article written one month before the explosion stated that “construction technology was not being adhered to, almost all orders were being underfulfilled, and equipment was arriving in an incomplete or, worse yet, clearly defective condition.” Such reports damage the reputation of the USSR as the plant was under their direct jurisdiction.
The after-effects of the disaster are as wide-spread as they are well-known. The trees of a nearby pine forest soon died and the forest was named the Red Forest after that. Though many domestic animals were evacuated, horses that were left on a nearby island soon died due to the radiation destroying their thyroid glands. As someone with hyperthyroidism, that was particularly interesting to read. In 2005 it was reported that the main health impact was thyroid cancer, reported to affect over 6000 children and adolescents who were exposed to the fallout. In 1991, the first radiotrophic fungus, which use melanin to convert gamma radiation into energy, was discovered growing on the walls of the Chernobyl plant. It is estimated that the exclusion zone, an area extending 30 kilometers in all directions from the plant, will not be safe for human inhabitation for 20,000 years.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_disaster (source of pic one and three)