The 21st anniversary was yesterday, April 26th 1986. The USSR tried to keep this accident from the world. Most of us probably heard the news a day later. I've read UN casualty reports indicating 58 deaths. The reactor explosion itself killed 30 people, including 28 from radiation exposure. Due to Cold War isolation and paranoia the real numbers may never be known.
The effects of that day will be felt for many more decades, the land and surrounding area will be "hot" and uninhabitable well into the next century.
I came across this site some time ago. The author traveled through Chernobyl on her motorcycle and has captured time on film. The photos are amazing. Homes and shops hastily left to never be occupied again. Wild animals roam the Ukraine breadbasket and take shelter in abandoned farmhouses. A few people still live there, refusing to leave their home and loved ones who are buried there. We still know so little about the melt down, but the lasting effects can be seen everywhere in the ghost town that was Chernobyl.