Logo of Disability News and Information Service (DNIS)


Disability still dogs Bhopal gas survivors

DNIS News Network – Even 20 years after the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, instances of disability among the survivors are still being found.

Picture of Bhopal gas tragedy victims at a rally agitating for justice.

It is a story that has haunted Bhopal for 20 years now. The Bhopal gas tragedy continues to echo in the lives of those that survived the biggest industrial disaster known to mankind. More than 100,000 people were crippled for life. Many were blinded; others suffer from irreversible lung damage and other chronic ailments.

On the 20th anniversary of the tragedy, some astounding statistics were revealed. The number of cancer cases has ascended a steep curve and genetic disorders have been detected among children born years after the disaster. The victims have not yet found justice -- bags of toxic waste still lie in the defunct Union Carbide Factory. The company cannot escape the charge that it committed a crime by not asking the local police and civic authorities to hold emergency evacuation drills at local intervals. The US government quite recently refused to sign an extradition treaty to bring Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson to India to face criminal charges.

Twenty years later, the ramifications of the tragedy are still found in the crutches of the many children of the victims.

We may never know the exact number of people suffering from disability as a result of the tragedy, or even the magnitude of the health impacts. This is because most of the research conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research has been kept secret.