Bhopal gas survivors demand compensation from Dow for COVID-19 impact

Gas survivor organisations in Bhopal, India, held a press conference on 24 November.
Thanks to Farah Edwards Khan for providing photos.

On the night of 2-3 December 1984, in Bhopal, state of Madhya Pradesh, India, a pesticide factory owned by Union Carbide exploded, creating a gas cloud that killed many thousands of people and animals. It caused lung damage, long-term ill-health and shortened the lives of people exposed to the toxic gas and lasting environmental pollution. This is among the world’s worst industrial accidents. The site was never cleaned up and when it rains, poisons go into the water supply, affecting the next generation. Union Carbide was bought up by Dow Chemical which also made Agent Orange.

Thanks to the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal for this press release:

24 November 2020

Four organizations of survivors of the Bhopal gas disaster demanded that Union Carbide and its owner Dow Chemical pay additional compensation for the long term injuries caused to the gas exposed people as evidenced in the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic. The organizations presented official records which showed that COVID-19 death rate in the gas exposed population is 6.5 times more that of the non gas exposed population of the Bhopal district.

“The Pandemic has exposed the official lie that 93% of those exposed to Union Carbide’s poisonous gases had only temporary injuries. “ said Rashida Bee, President of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh [Bhopal Gas Survivors Women Stationery Workers’ Union]. “We have official records that show that the gas exposed population, that is 17% of the district’s population of 2.8 million, has contributed to 56% of the COVID-19 deaths in the district so far.”

Read more here

WinVisible adds:

WinVisible and Women of Colour in the Global Women’s Strike have always supported the Bhopal struggle, as well as the disabled women stationery workers who fought against their discriminatory low pay under a government employment relief scheme for Bhopal survivors.  In 2012 we protested with UK-based Bhopal activists Farah Edwards Khan and colleagues against Dow Chemical sponsorship of the London Olympics alongside Atos and other hated multinational companies.

Coming up:

** Wed 2 December, 3pm-4pm – International webinar on the 36th anniversary of the disaster, hosted by the Bhopal Medical Appeal. Bhopal’s Endless Disaster In The Time Of Covid-19  Register here

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