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What happened
in Bhopal?
A summary

Aziza's Story:
harrowing account

of a survivor


Survivors' tales

The death-toll

Birth defects

Medical catastrophe

Carbide's response

Carbide's "sabotage" theory

Revelations about Union Carbide's factory

US lawyers decend on Bhopal

Indian government gets involved: the "Bhopal Act"

The 1989 settlement

The criminal case: CEO Warren Anderson and UCC abscond

Enter Dow Chemical

Survivor campaigns against Carbide & Dow

The medical situation today

(Pages being linked asap, meanwhile please use the search engine below.)

READING

Dominique Lapierre and Xavier Moro tell the story of the Union Carbide factory and the negligence and cost-cutting that directly caused the disaster.
Read Bhopal.Net's review with links to Amazon for French, UK and US editions.


FILM

"That Night" is the background of the feature film Bhopal Express starring Naseeruddin Shah and Zeenat Aman. You will soon be able to watch it free with RealPlayer on www.bhopal.fm making it the first ever full length feature film to be streamed over the web.

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Story of bhopal.net, Bhopal alerts from Google and a magical mystery tour of the website.

To the people of Bhopal,
the night of 2nd/3rd December 1984
is known simply as 'That Night'


During the last few minutes of Sunday 2nd December 1984, a deeply poisonous gas, methyl-isocyanate (MIC) began leaking from a massive storage tank at Union Carbide's pesticide factory in Bhopal. Not one of the factory's safety systems was working. The refrigeration unit which should have cooled the tank had been switched off months earlier to save $37.68 per day on freon coolant, the vent gas scrubber was partially dismantled. The warning siren was switched off, the flare tower was inadequate to cope with the volume of gases, superheated to 400C, that were rushing through pipes at 180 mph blistering and charring paintwork, exploding into the night air. The factory did not have sufficient water pressure for fire hoses to be sprayed on the escaping gases, so the reaction continued until the huge tank, as big as a locomotive, was empty and 40 tonnes of lethal MIC and other reaction products had bucketed out into the night air over the sleeping city.

SURVIVORS' ACCOUNTS OF "THAT NIGHT"

"It felt like somebody had filled our bodies up with red chillies, our eyes were crying, noses were watering, we had froth in our mouths. The coughing was so bad that people were writhing in pain. Some people just got up and ran in whatever clothes they were wearing or even if they were wearing none at all. Somebody was running this way and somebody was running that way, some people were just running in their underclothes. People were only concerned as to how they would save their lives so they just ran. Those who fell were not picked up by anybody, they just kept falling, and they were trampled on by other people. In the crowd of people even cows were running and trying to save their lives and crushing people as they ran. People climbed and scrambled over each other to save their lives - even vehicles were crushing people." Champa Devi Shukla

AZIZA'S STORY

Aziza Sultan was pregnant on "that night". Here is an extract from her account of what happened to her and her family. Read the full story here.

At about 12.30 am I woke to the sound of Ruby coughing badly. The room was not dark, there was a street light nearby. In the half light I saw that the room was filled with a white cloud. I heard a great noise of people shouting. They were yelling ‘bhaago, bhaago’ (run, run). Mohsin started coughing too and then I started coughing with each breath seeming as if we were breathing in fire . . .
     The family were coughing and groaning. We tried closing all the doors and windows to stop more gas from coming in, but the room was already full of white clouds. My son Mohsin stopped groaning, he fell unconscious. My mother-in-law suggested that all of us should go to the Hamidia hospital . . .
     It was very cold outside but we were not feeling cold at all. We went out in our night clothes with nothing else to cover ourselves. Not even our dupattas or burkhas were with us. It was around 1.30 a.m. by then. We left without shutting or locking the house, nothing mattered but to run.

Outside in the lane, it appeared that a large number of people had passed that way. Lots of shoes and shawls and other clothes were strewn about. White clouds enveloped everything. Streetlights looked like points of light. Our family got split up. One of my sisters-in-law ran one way and the rest of us towards the main street. I saw lots and lots of people running, screaming for help, vomiting, falling down, unconscious.

 



 

PHOTO: RAGHU RAI, MAGNUM

This terrifying yet tender picture has become the icon of the Bhopal disaster and is the symbol of the justice campaign. It was taken on the morning after the night of gas by Magnum photographer Raghu Rai, who had flown from Delhi when news of the catastrophe reached the capital. He was standing by the grave with another photographer, Pablo Bartholomew, whose pictures may also be seen on this website. The father of the child, having covered her with earth, could not bear to say goodbye, and gently brushed away the earth for a last look at his daughter. Raghu told us that both he and Pablo were in tears. Had they not been in the city that morning, it is possible that we may never have seen for ourselves how hideous was the fate visited on the people of Bhopal. No film exists of the event, there were no TV cameras to record the death throes of the poor neighbourhoods which had gone to sleep early that Sunday night because the people had to go to their jobs, which were mostly hard physical labout, in the morning. For thousands, the morning never came.

PICTURES TAKEN BY RAGHU & PABLO

 

 

 

 

 

 


   
     
     
     
     

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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