10 The cycle of illness-work-illness

From Sathyu’s Introduction to Bhopal for Young People

Seven out of ten women and men who were exposed to Union Carbide’s poisonous gases that night did hard physical labour (digging holes in the ground with axes, carrying loads on their heads, pushing handcarts, cutting wood and other work) to earn enough for their food, shelter and bare necessities. Most worked on daily wages and did not get any leave at work if they fell sick. Illness caused by the poisonous gases made workers sick which meant that they lost their wages. Often people force themselves to go to work despite illness because otherwise they and their family would starve. Thus their illness grows and many die untimely deaths. More than 15,000 people have died untimely deaths in the years following the disaster and the death toll continues to rise.

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Girl with candle Bhopal

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