Tragedy haunts Bhopal gas victims

HEMENDER SHARMA, CNN-IBN, DECEMBER 3, 2006
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PAIN CONTINUES: Both of Uzma’s kidneys have failed and her family cannot afford to continue her treatment. Watch video.
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Get the facts on the Bhopal Tragedy.
Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): It has been 22 years since the Bhopal Gas tragedy occurred, but the lives of those who have survived has changed forever.
“I am fortunate to have survived the Bhopal Gas tragedy,” says a victim, Jeher Lal.
Born on December 3, 1984, Jeher got his name after methyl isocyanide, a gas that killed 3,000 people and affected several others on the same day that he was born.
His co-worker Gasmati was also born on that fateful day.
Jeher and Gasmati may be happy for having survived the tragedy but their troubles are far from over.
Both of them suffer from respiratory illnesses, which could have resulted from exposure to the gas.
Much of their Rs 50,000 compensation money was spent on medicines. And they work as labourers to earn a living now.
“I have problems while breathing but I can’t stop working,” says Gasmati.
Another victim, Uzma was just two-years-old when the incident took place. A mother of a child now, she is already battling for her life as both of her kidneys have almost failed.
She hasn’t found a donor yet and her family cannot afford to continue the treatment any longer.
“I am facing a lot of problems. Dialysis has to be done every week as there is no other way out,” says Uzma.
The compensation money sanctioned by the government to the victims may have dried out by now. But even after 22 years, the tragedy continues to haunt its victims in the form of slow-killer diseases.
With inputs from Jemima Rohekar.

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