Bhopal Disaster : 25 Years

25th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster

Twenty-five years ago this week, in the early hours of Dec. 3, 1984, large amounts of water entered a tank at the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal, India. That water reacted with the 42 tons of methyl isocyanate (MIC) inside, raising temperature and pressure so high that it began venting massive amounts of gas made up of methyl isocyanate, phosgene (PH3) , hydrogen cyanide (HCN)  and more. The poisonous cloud swept through neighborhoods near the boundary wall, waking sleeping residents with burning throats and eyes, killing about 4,000 people in the first few hours. Over the next few years, the lingering effects increased that toll to about 15,000 dead, according to government estimates. A quarter-century later thousands of people are still grappling with the effects of the world’s worst industrial accident and the continued contamination. Union Carbide was bought by Dow Chemical in 2001, and Dow claims the legal case was resolved in 1989, with responsibility for continued cleanup now falling to the local state government. Gas Tragedy

Burial of an unknown child. This unknown child has become the icon of the
world’s worst industrial disaster, caused by the
US multinational chemical company, Union Carbide. Gas Tragedy

Survivors of the disaster stand in front of the Union Carbide factory one day after
the lethal gas leak. Their eyes and lungs have been badly damaged by exposure to the gas. Gas Tragedy

Man carries the body of his wife past the deserted Union Carbide factory,
the source of the toxic gas that killed her the night before. Gas Tragedy

Children awaiting cremation. A crowd watches as a man pastes identification labels onto
dead children’s foreheads. So many thousands had died so suddenly that these sorts of
drastic measures were necessary to identify and document as many bodies as possible. Gas Tragedy

Burial of young Leela. Had her body not been recognised and claimed,
she would have joined thousands of others on the mass cremation pyres. Gas Tragedy

‘I remember making three tiered graves. There was no option but to pile up one
body on top of another. In those three to four days we must have buried more than
4,000 people’ says Mohammad Aziz as he looks at the skeletons
that have come out of the graves. Gas Tragedy

Rehana Bi has carefully preserved the picture of her with bandages around her eyes
that appeared in an international news magazine after the disaster.
The eyes of her son, Chand, then a year old, were also damaged. Gas Tragedy
Until 3 December 1984, Nanko (76) was independent and able to provide comfortably
for his family. After the gas disaster, he became a beggar. The tragedy left in its wake
loss of job opportunities, mounting medical bills and lack of support structure from the state. Gas Tragedy

Born on the day the toxic gas swept across the city,
this girl was named Gas Devi – ‘gas goddess’ – by her parents. Gas Tragedy
The Death Doctor. ‘I must have performed more than 20,000 autopsies so far.
No relative of a gas victim can get a compensation claim for a death without
my certificate. It has been a nightmarish experience.’ Dr. Sathpathy, the
forensic expert at the state government’s Hamidia Hospital, the
only one functioning on the night of the disaster. Gas Tragedy

Foetuses which were aborted by pregnant women escaping from the gas,
or shortly after the gas leak, were preserved at the state government’s
Hamidia Hospital, to establish the cause of death. Gas Tragedy

Rubeda Banu’s three sons have stunted growth. Shakeel, who was a week old when
the tragedy occurred, Raes Ahmed who was 18 months and Muzaffar who
was born a year later, are all less than five feet tall. Her mother has
severe problems related to breathing and mental depression. Gas Tragedy

Gumanilal is a familiar figure in Jayaprakash Nagar, an area opposite the
Union Carbide factory. Some, like Gumanilal, received inadequate compensation
after the disaster, which helped them to pay medical expenses for a
short time. Others have received no financial assistance at all. Gas Tragedy

Mohammad Arif has a sick heart and damaged lungs which provoke violent
coughing fits that rack his fragile body. Doctors say he has pulmonary fibrosis,
a condition that can only be cured by replacing his lungs. Gas Tragedy

Hasan Ali has seven grown-up daughters. ‘Our education has suffered because
of our father’s illness, and the fact that we too have been ill at different times.
Because of this, there are several problems related to our marriages,’
says Kishwar, one of the seven daughters. Gas Tragedy

A view of the abandoned pesticide plant. Union Carbide fled the scene in 1984
and for the last 17 years virtually nothing has been done to clean up the highly polluted site. Gas Tragedy

Union Carbide left hundreds of tonnes of toxic waste on the site. Until mid-2001,
the factory grounds were inaccessible without special permission from the
government. Now the perimeter walls are broken and local
children play in the area, which remains dangerously contaminated. Gas Tragedy

Contamination from the plant pollutes the soil and ground water of local
communities. Hundreds of people, still drink and wash with the contaminated ground water. Gas Tragedy

I was the man in charge of law and order that night. Everyone else had fled to safety,
leaving the city and its people to their own devices. But I have paid a heavy price.
I have survived, but with a clutch of ailments.’ says Swaraj Puri, as he tends to his eyes. Gas Tragedy

The suffering continues in Bhopal but not in silence. Sunil Kumar (right)
calls for justice. He was given up for dead when the disaster struck.
Now he is dedicated to the struggle against corporate crime.
Will this crime ever be rectified by the world’s biggest chemical firm, Dow chemicals? Gas Tragedy

A policeman points to the gas tank which vented its contents into the atmosphere in 1984, at the site of the deserted Union Carbide factory on November 28, 2009 in Bhopal, India. Twenty-five years after a massive gas leak at the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal killed thousands, toxic material from the ‘biggest industrial disaster in history’ continues to affect Bhopalis. A new generation is growing up sick, disabled and struggling for justice. The effects of the disaster on the health of generations to come, both through genetics, transferred from gas victims to their children and through the ongoing severe contamination, caused by the Union Carbide factory, has only started to develop visible forms recently. Gas Tragedy

In a file picture taken on December 4, 1984 soldiers guard the entrance of Union Carbide
factory in Bhopal after a deadly poison gas leak. Survivors of the world’s worst
industrial disaster in India’s Bhopal city were outraged by (now cancelled) plans to throw
open the site to visitors 25 years after the tragedy that killed thousands. Gas Tragedy
This December 4, 1984 photograph shows blinded victims of the Bhopal tragedy
as they sit in the street and wait to be treated at Bhopal hospital after a deadly
poisonous gas leak from the Union Carbide factory.

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  1. It is only politics. now a days we are fighting for this after 26yrs. our goverment should take necessary action against to Anderson he is 90 yrs old this is not a metter his wife says that bhopal metter have closed. Anderson is not well but now he can full fill the bhopal sewage water condition and environmental conditon by money he should expand money on facing to this desasters persons 26yrs in between time 2 generation have come in the world. our polition and goverment employes are to much carepted. ON BHOPAL DISASTER SHOULD MAKE A ONE MOVIE ALSO AND SENSOR BOARD HAVE NOT ANY RIGHT TO HIDE A REALITY. GANDHI FAMILY IS NOT KING OF INDIA. A MOVIE IS REQUIRED TO REALITY FOR THE WORLD. WHERE IS OUR BOLLOYWOOD DIRECTORS AND SCRIPT WRITERS WHERE IS? THIS MOVIE IS REQUIRED TO SHOW OUR POLITICIAN REALITY

  2. At that I was the age of 15 years, hearing the news from radio and I think our political people and some one inside the judiciary handled the matter in worst and god never excuse these people

  3. India under Congress is always in a hurry to exhenorate criminals of foreign origin. Haste with which Anderson was escorted out of Bhopal like a VVIP and then sent to USA under Rajeev Gandhi regime, and then Quatterochi was spared the noose due to his Italian connection. Now the Congress shouting brigade is out to put the blame on Arjun Singh. Everyone knows that the congress culture is to defend the family at all costs, also public knows that nothing happens in the Congress ruled States without concurrence of high command ( Read family), so we all are aware that it was Rajeev who planned escape of Anderson. Moreover even if we accept that Arjun Singh as CM of M.P. acted on his own, then he can be blamed only of
    sending Anderson out of M.P. to Delhi – and not to U.S.A. Then we find Stenos like R K Dhawan who had fallen from grace during Rajeev regime – trying to accuse P C Alexander – a man of high repute, of having “Khunnas” against Rajeev. Also, in case of Quatrochi a senior officer was flown to London to inform the Court there that there is no case against Q and his bank account can be unsealed. Why this special consideration ? Congress in general and family in particular are to be blamed for deliberate mishandling of cases in which forein criminals are involved

  4. aaisa kya hai politics me jo aam aadmi ko haivan bana deta hai. insaniyat jaisi koi chiz nahi rehti. paiso ke liye anderson jaise paapi ko bhi chod diya. DESH KI JANTA SE GADDARI KI. mai to kehta hu anderson ke hisse ki saja use chodne walo ko di jaye.

  5. Today, i saw the court ruling on the case. I feel very sad for the people that were affected by the tragedy. May the souls of those who died rest in peace. Good job done by collecting these pictures so that we remember many of those who suffered from the greediness of few.

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