28 years later, Bhopal still suffers

Dec. 3, 2012 at 2:49 PM

BHOPAL, India, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Thousands still suffer from health problems 28 years after India's worst industrial accident, the gas leak at Union Carbide in Bhopal, human rights groups say.

Amnesty International, marking the 28th anniversary of the horrific event Dec. 3, 1984, that killed 7,000 to 10,000 people in just three days and has left an entire generation of residents suffering from various chronic illnesses. As many as 570,000 were affected in the city of 900,000 when a valve on a tank holding a lethal gas at the massive pesticide plant failed, cloaking the city in a fatal fog, BBC News said.

The Indian government negotiated what many regard as a woefully underwhelming settlement with Union Carbide, which has since been purchased by Dow Chemical, issuing $470 million in damages to victims.

Amnesty International, which noted women have been hit hardest by the tragedy, called the accident and the settlement insufficient.

"Today, 28 years after the disaster, in many senses the situation of the victims is worse than it was on the morning of the disaster. The people who are struggling are mainly poor and are mainly women," said Hazra Bi of the local NGO Union Carbide Gas Affected Women's Collective.

Dow has repeatedly disavowed responsibility for the Union Carbide situation, saying the company has fulfilled its obligations for the accident.

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