As Bureau Chief of the BBC, New Delhi at the time of the disaster, Sir Mark Tully was one of the very first correspondents to arrive in Bhopal. He found himself witness to the unimaginable horror being wrought on men, women, children and animals as the toxic gas took its toll.
Returning to Bhopal ten years after the tragedy, he met survivors in J.P.Nagar, the bustee nearest to the factory and most devastated by the gas. Among the survivors were Haliman Bi’s family:
“The gas woke us all… we began to choke and our eyes began to sting. We ran in different directions still choking and coughing. Everyone’s eyes and noses were streaming”
Haliman recounted that the family were only earning a meagre living by selling goats’ milk and wood since her husband had become too weak to drive the pony trap which used to provide their livelihood. Haliman herself was in constant pain, explaining that her whole body hurt and only a hot stone relieved the constant pain in her head. Her daughter had suffered the trauma of having three stillborn babies. Always out of breath, her daughter-in-law was unable to work and still couldn’t sleep at night. She was often in bed for three months at a time.
On Sunday 21st August, you can hear Sir Mark Tully reading a BBC Radio 4 Charity Appeal on behalf of the Bhopal Medical Appeal.
The appeal will be broadcast on Sunday 21st August at 07:55 and 21:26 then on Thursday 25th August at 15:27