Lapierre's 'Midnight in Bhopal'
The Times of India 25th January 2001

BHOPAL: City of Joy author Dominique Lapierre will be visiting Bhopal between January 25-27 to inaugurate a gynaecological clinic for survivors of the Bhopal gas disaster.

Lapierre and his nephew, Javier Moro, have just completed their book, Midnight in Bhopal on the gas disaster. The 400-page book is being published by Laffont and Planeta in French and Spanish simultaneously.

Both the writers had spent the last three years researching their book in India, Europe and the USA. They interviewed over 200 people, including workers in the Bhopal plant of Union Carbide, and officials in Union Carbide India Ltd besides visiting the companies offices in India and the USA.

With the royalties from the sale of 7.5 million copies of the City of Joy, Lapierre set up a foundation in India to support humanitarian activities. Since 1981, the writers have supported 1,000 social workers, doctors, nurses, physical therapists and educators.

They have contributed to the rescue, shelter, treatment, cure, education and rehabilitation of over 40 lakh patients suffering from tuberculosis, cholera, leprosy and other diseases of the 'poor'.

The Bhopal peoples' Health and Documentation Clinic, run by the Sambhavna Trust, has offered free medical care to over 9,500 survivors of the gas disaster. Sambhavna, says Managing Trustee Satinath Sarangi, offers treatment to people with chronic exposure-related illnesses.

Since 1999, the Sambhavna Clinic has been receiving financial support from the Dominique Lapierre City of Joy Foundation towards improving health care of women survivors. Quite apart from managing the day to day running of the clinic, funds have bought equipment to provide colposcopy and LLETZ (large loop excision of the transformation zone) facilities. LLETZ is among the most advanced surgical procedures that allows with the aid of the colposcope, excision of abnormal tissue, thus sparing the rest of the reproductive organs.

This equipment, claims Sarangi, will go a long way in the screening, diagnosis and treatment of cervical cancer among gas affected women.