Aziza Sultan: No one shows concern. I sometimes wish that I had died in the accident

First person
Click to follow
The Independent Online

It was a winter night and it was cold. I woke up around 12.30am and the children were vomiting and coughing. Everyone in the house was finding it difficult to breathe. We didn't know what was happening but everyone's eyes were burning and swelling up. Outside, I could hear people shouting "Run, run".

I picked-up my two-year-old daughter, Ruby, and six-month-old son, Mohsin, while my in-laws also gathered themselves together. [Her husband was away from Bhopal for work].

We started running towards Hamidia hospital. When we reached there, there was no one there. We tried to go to another hospital but on the way we collapsed. I was 10-weeks pregnant and when I fainted I had a miscarriage. There was blood everywhere.

When I looked up I could see people lying around on the floor. There were also clothes and shoes scattered. There were white clouds in the air and it made everything look different.

People were walking past, trying to cover those lying down with blankets and quilts. Someone must have picked us up and took us to their house. I didn't know what was happening but they looked after us.

The next morning the news came that there had been an accident at the Union Carbide plant which was responsible for everything. No one knew it was making something so dangerous.

When we got back to our own home, we heard that there was an order to evacuate the city. Three days later the first team of doctors arrived at our house but they couldn't do anything. It was just temporary relief that they could provide.

Many people were left with severe health problems and disabilities afterwards. Everyone developed respiratory problems.

My son plays hockey but he finds it hard to run quickly. My daughter still has breathing difficulties.

It feels like the accident happened just yesterday. In the years afterwards, we were scared that it was going to happen again.

No one shows concern for what happened. After all these years, with all these problems, I sometimes wish I had died in the accident.