Ground Report | New Delhi: 50% of Covid deaths in Bhopal; When the havoc of Covid 19 broke, it was feared that it would have a very bad effect on the Bhopal gas victims already suffering from many serious diseases.
50% of Covid deaths in Bhopal
Madhya Pradesh Gas Relief Department and Bhopal district administration have submitted evidence of the death of 467 gas victims by writing a letter to the top officials of the state, out of which the names of 38 gas victims have not been found in the list of CMO gas relief.
Gas victim organizations have demanded that these deaths be included in the official data. 5.74 lakh gas tragedy survivors – or about 17% of the city’s population – but if one checks the list of activists, 40%-50% of the deaths occur.
Rashida B of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Employees Union has told that they have written a letter to the government only on 21 March 2020 when the first wave of Covid started. In the letter, he had expressed the apprehension that Bhopal gas victims were still suffering from serious diseases. Many young people are facing many genetic problems, their lungs are weak.
Arrangements for covid testing
The organizations had demanded that immediate arrangements should be made for Covid testing and arrangements for treatment should also be made. Therefore, there was a need that the matter of Bhopal gas victims should be kept on priority, but this could not happen. This was the reason that many deaths due to corona were not included in the government records.
The list names a total of 1225 people who died of the virus, of whom 467 (38%) survived from MIC gas from the Union Carbide factory. The official death toll in Bhopal still stands at 974, and officials from the Madhya Pradesh Gas Relief Department and Bhopal district have yet to make an official count of deaths among the gas victims.
In a letter to state officials, presented with an updated ‘master list’ of COVID deaths, survivor groups have sought inclusion of unreported deaths in official records. They have provided evidence showing that they followed 1,167 of the reported deaths, but were unable to trace the families or contacts of the remaining 58.
They have also presented evidence to show that 467 of those who died were gas survivors. This includes documents for 360 deaths, including government-issued smart cards to survivors seeking treatment, or court documents showing compensation receipts for gas exposure.
under-reporting of gas-infested Covid deaths
They have been unable to obtain official documents for the remaining 107 survivors, but have requested that the Gas Relief Department request the relevant documents from the Welfare Commissioner to confirm.
“Over the past 18 months, we have consistently raised the issue of under-reporting of gas-infested Covid deaths and repeatedly presented evidence of these deaths which are yet to be included in the official list”.
The data clearly shows that our fears about the increased susceptibility of survivors of the 1984 Union Carbide gas disaster to COVID-19 were well-founded. Despite this, none of the Covid-19 data on infection rate and mortality rate among gas victims has been properly maintained,” the letter said, asking the government to ask the government for the exact extent of the damage caused by Covid-19.