Bhopal’s Endless Disaster In The Time Of Covid-19

On the 36th anniversary of Union Carbide's Disaster at 3pm on 2nd December, we hosted a live webinar on the plight of Bhopal gas survivors today.  

We heard from health workers operating on the front line in gas-affected neighbourhoods, as well as medical and technical experts, to learn about the 1984 Bhopal Gas Disaster's unremitting impacts, why survivors are left gravely at-risk to the Covid-19 pandemic, and how their selfless efforts to protect each other by means of a demanding and dangerous 'community shield' program carries important lessons for every community.

Webinar Agenda

  • The ongoing spread of toxic contamination and roadmap to remediation
  • The long term health impact of toxic exposure in 1984
  • The high vulnerability of survivors to Covid-19
  • The creation of community shield by Chingari and Sambhavna clinics
  • Q & A with Speakers


  • Bridget Hanna – Medical Anthropologist, Independent Scholar
  • Joe Jackson – Managing Director, Keltbray Remediation
  • Dr Sanjay Shrivastava – Sambhavna Clinic, Bhopal
  • Matrushri P. Shetty - Director - Programs & Strategy, Lung Care Foundation, Delhi
  • Tabassum Ara - Community Health Worker, Sambhavna Clinic, Bhopal
  • Sathyu Sarangi – Managing Trustee, Sambhavna Trust, Bhopal

On the night of December 2nd, 1984, a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, began leaking 27 tons of the deadly gas methyl isocyanate. None of the six safety systems designed to contain such a leak were operational, allowing the gas to spread throughout the city of Bhopal. Half a million people were exposed to the gas and over 25,000 have died to date as a result of their exposure.

After the catastrophic gas leak, the factory was locked up and left to rot, without cleaning, with all the chemicals and wastes still there. Thousands of families in Bhopal have been drinking water contaminated with pesticides, chlorinated organic compounds and heavy metals for decades. Children are being born with cerebral palsy, deafness, eye problems, tumours, cleft lips and palates, malformed limbs, the list goes on...

Since 1996 we have helped provide free medical care, education and community support to those suffering the effects of Union Carbide’s gas disaster, and to families still being damaged in their thousands by ongoing water poisoning. We support two clinics and their community work in Bhopal, The Sambhavna Clinic and The Chingari Rehabilitation Centre.

On the day of Bhopal’s first Covid-19 death some of the poorest people on earth, lacking adequate protective equipment, testing kits, financial or other resources agreed a demanding and dangerous plan of action designed to monitor and suppress the spread of the virus within their own communities.

We believe Dow must finally accept responsibility for Bhopal. Until then, The Bhopal Medical Appeal funds two award-winning clinics in the city. Both offer free, first-class care to victims of the gas disaster or the ongoing water contamination. The survivors have nowhere else left to turn – please help if you can.