A community next to a former nuclear test site has been left ravaged with deformities and rare cancers.
The Soviet Union’s military detonated 456 nukes at the Semipalatinsk test site, in eastern Kazakhstan, between 1949 and 1989.
More than 30 years later, thousands of residents in the region suffer with severe health problems and illnesses from the radioactive fallout.
Shocking images show babies are born with disfigurements to this day, including deformed limbs and enlarged skulls, while suicide rates are high.
Cancer and cardiovascular disease rates are also twice as high than in the rest of Kazakhstan, according to France24.
The levels of radiation near the site, which was renamed Semey in 2007, are also said to be far higher than is safe for humans.
According to the official estimate, approximately 1million people were in the zone of radiation impact over the 40 years the site was used.
The fact the region was being used to test nuclear weapons was kept secret for the whole period.
The United Nations (UN) says locals can still remember seeing the first “mushroom cloud” appear on the horizon in 1949.
Some of the nuclear explosions were carried out underground.
But more than 100 were dropped from the air, despite large populations living just 90 miles away from where the bombs exploded.
Magdalena Stawkowski, a medical anthropologist, told The Sun Online: “Everyone is impacted. Those living nearby are exposed.
“Those further away ingest radioactive meat.”
Radioactive particles get carried by the wind when fires burn through the test site, she added.
The area is the only place in the world where thousands of residents live around a nuclear weapons test site, the publication reported.
There is also said to be a museum in the region with a room which contains jars of deformed foetuses and human organs.
Anti-nuclear campaigners say some people were killed by the radiation immediately after the weapons were dropped.
But it also caused deadly diseases decades later, while later generations were also blighted with chronic diseases and disabilities, they added.