The quintessential go-anywhere, do-anything, vehicle, Land Rover is celebrating the production of its one-millionth Land Rover Discovery. In light of the landmark achievement, Land Rover is holding a 50-day expedition and £1 million (GBP) fundraiser to benefit the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, a Global Humanitarian Partner of Land Rover.
Displaying the versatility and capability of Land Rover vehicles, a team set out on a 50 day, 8,000 mile, intercontinental journey from Solihull, Birmingham to Beijing China. In total, the route of the Discovery expedition will hit the following countries: UK, France, Switzerland, Italy, Hungary, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan before ending in China.
Well on their way, a recent update from the Land Rover team documents their journey through Chernobyl, Ukraine, a city that truly tests just how go-anywhere, do-anything, a Land Rover vehicle really is. Ever since the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant suffered a nuclear fallout back in April 1986, the region has since been deserted. Until now, nobody in private vehicles were ever allowed to breach the 30 kilometer exclusion zone surrounding the epicenter of the accident.
Valeriy Zabayaka was a former plant worker and one of the thousands of ‘liquidators’ tasked with clearing the radioactive disaster zone. Now the guide for the Discovery team, Zabayaka explained that before the tragedy, living standards at the Pripyat City of Chernobyl were significantly better than that of the average Soviet city. Facilities and amenities were abundant as shops were well stocked with western goods. Wages were over double the national average. Unfortunately, the loss of reactor 4 changed everything and now Chernobyl is nothing more than an empty shell of its former self.
The Discovery team’s final stop was next to the reactor itself, now under a cover of concrete, steel, lead, and metal sheeting. According to Zabayaka, the city has already been waiting for more than a decade for plans of a better, more permanent, sarcophagus to contain the plant and its tragic history. Unfortunately, legislation has only been extending its deadline.