Portraits Of A Corporate Crime: Raghu Rai

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Raghu Rai, Magnum Photos: Portrait Of A Corporate Crime 30 years since the worlds worst industrial accident when a toxic gas leak at the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India killed and maimed thousands of people.

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Bhopal: The World's Worst Industrial Disaster, 30 Years Later Thirty years ago, on the night of December 2, 1984, an accident at the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, released at least 30 tons of a highly toxic gas called methyl isocyanate, as well as a number of other poisonous gases. The pesticide plant was surrounded by shanty towns, leading to more than 600,000 people being exposed to the deadly gas cloud that night. The gases stayed low to the ground, causing victims throats and eyes to burn, inducing nausea, and many deaths. Estimates of the death toll vary from as few as 3,800 to as many as 16,000, but government figures now refer to an estimate of 15,000 killed over the years.

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Toxic material remains, and 30 years later, many of those who were exposed to the gas have given birth to physically and mentally disabled children. For decades, survivors have been fighting to have the site cleaned up, but they say the efforts were slowed when Michigan-based Dow Chemical took over Union Carbide in 2001. Human rights groups say that thousands of tons of hazardous waste remain buried underground, and the government has conceded the area is contaminated. There has, however, been no long-term epidemiological research which conclusively proves that birth defects are directly related to the drinking of the contaminated water.

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Raghu Rai 1984 This victim was identified as Leela who lived in the Chola colony near the Union Carbide factory.

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Raghu Rai 1984 Burial of unknown children, victims of the Bhopal disaster.

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Raghu Rai 1984 A family suffering from serious eye and lung damage.

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Raghu Rai 1984 This elderly woman was badly injured when exposed to the poisonous gas. Everyone else in her family died.

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Raghu Rai 1984 A man carries the body of his dead wife past the deserted Union Carbide Factory, the source of the toxic gas that killed her the night before.

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Raghu Rai 1984 Poster of the dead and missing displayed all over Bhopal within days of the disaster. Many bodies were never identified.

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Raghu Rai 1984 In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, thousands of sick children were brought to the state government-run Hamida Hospital, their parents too ill to take care of them properly.

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Raghu Rai 1984 A man pastes identification labels onto dead children's foreheads before their cremation.

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Raghu Rai 1984 Mass cremation of victims held alongside the communal graves.

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Raghu Rai 1984 Burial of an unknown child.

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Raghu Rai 1984  Seated in front of the Union Carbide bulding, victims blinded by the gas await medical transport to take them to hospitals;

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Raghu Rai 1984 Many people suffered from irritation, blindness or ulcers.

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Raghu Rai 1984 Small children suffocating from gas poisoning are connected to breathing apparatuses in the Hamidia Medical College and hospital of the city.

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 Raghu Rai 2001 Foetuses which were aborted by pregnant women while escaping from the gas, were preserved by Dr. Satpathy, a forensic expert at the State Government's Hamida Hospital, to establish the exact cause of death. 2001.

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Raghu Rai 2001 Amarchand Ajmera, 76 years old, has committed his life to ensure that everyone gets decent last rites, but at the moment of the Bhopal disaster it was impossible to cremate all victims according to the ritual.

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Raghu Rai 2001 Nanko, now 76 years old, was independent and able to provide for his family. Since the disaster he has become a beggar. 2001. Raghu Rai 2001

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Raghu Rai 2001 There is no official memorial to the 20.000 who died from the toxic gas, nor for the 150.000 who suffer damages. This statue of mother and child by Ruth Watermann stands by the gate of the Union Carbide factory.

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Raghu Rai 2001 Skulls discarded after research at the Hamida Hospital. Medical experts believe that the toxic gas inhaled by the people of Bhopal may have affected the brain.

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Raghu Rai 2001 Mohammad Khan in the cemetery where his son, who was exposed to the gas, is buried. He is a daily visitor.

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Raghu Rai 2001 After the Bhopal disaster, Sunil became the eldest male member of his family at the age of seven. His parents and his five siblings all died. 

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Raghu Rai 2001 Bhopal survivors protest in New Delhi, to extradite Warren Anderson, former chief executive of Union Carbide. Anderson is evading justice in the United States and is wanted by Interpol for crimes in Bhopal. 

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Raghu Rai 2001 Devchand, 65 years old, lives opposite the Union Carbide factory. Moving from his house into the sunshine is a difficult task, he is debilitated forever.

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Raghu Rai 2001 Gangaram had come to Bhopal to get treatment for leprosy at the Hamida Hospital. He was cured when the toxic gas hit the city. He is now, again, dependent on others for survival.

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Raghu Rai 2001 Dashrat Prasad , 55 years old, is a resident of the Jayaprakash Nagar colony. He can no longer work, enfeebled with tuberculosis. The family has to live on a small payment that his wife gets for her daily labors.

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Raghu Rai 2001 India. Bhopal. 2001.

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Raghu Rai 2002 Patients waiting for care at the Ginnori Primary Unit. More than 400 outpatients come here every day. The Unit is run by the Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre

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Raghu Rai 2002 Zubeda Bi lost all her relatives in the Bhopal disaster. Neighbors took care of her during these seventeen years. She died one week after this photo was taken in January 2002.

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Raghu Rai 2002 Asma and her niece Raisa took care of elderly Zubeda Bi who lost all her relatives in the Bhopal disaster.

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Raghu Rai 2002 Rehana Bi and her son. Both have eye damages from the disaster. Chand, the son, was only one years old in 1984. Rehana has carefully preserved the picture of her with bandages that appeared in the international press after the disaster.

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Raghu Rai 2002 Masked protesters gather at a statue in front of the Union Carbide factory to demand that they release research made on the effects of the toxic gas in order to better treat human damages. 

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Raghu Rai 2002 Jamela Bi and Shahejahan work in a stationery centre run for gas victims run by the state government. Neither is married. "No one wants to marry a sick gas-victim girl" says Aliya Bi.

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Raghu Rai 2002 Leela Devi and her husband have spent almost everything they have on medical treatment since being exposed to the toxic gas.

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Raghu Rai 2002 Shakeel Quereshi was the shift-incharge at the Union Carbide factory on the night of 2nd December, 1984. He is one of the witnesses as well as accused. Bound by legal considerations he has no right to reveal any details. He is also one of the victims, suffering heavy eye damages. 

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Raghu Rai 2002 Dr. Sathpathy is the forensic expert of the Hamida Hospital. He has performed more than 20.000 autopsies so far. No relative of a gas victim can get a compensation claim for a death without his certificate.

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Raghu Rai 2002 Union Carbide abandonned its factory after the disaster, leaving hundreds of tonnes of toxic waste on the site. Until mid 2001 the factory ground was inaccessible. Now local children play in the area which remains dangerously contaminated.

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Raghu Rai 2002 Muhammed AZIZ returns to the cemetery where 4.000 people were buried in the first days of the 1984 disaster.

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Raghu Rai 2002 Residents of the Ayub Nagar colony still drink and wash with the contaminated ground water.

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Raghu Rai 2002 Born on the day the toxic gas swept across the city, this girl was named "Gas Devi", gas goddess, by her parents.

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Raghu Rai 2002 Survivors wait for treatment at the Samhavna Clinic, near the abandoned factory site.

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Raghu Rai 2002 Mehboob BI has two daughters and two sons. Her husband was a fitter, on duty the night of the disaster, at the Union Carbide plant. He died of his injuries after 15 years of struggle. The family has no resources to fight the legal battle for compensation.

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Raghu Rai 2002 Rubeda Banu with her three sons. At the moment of the disaster the two older boys were a week and 18 months old.The youngest was born one year after the disaster. They are all less than five feet tall.

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Raghu Rai 2002 Mohammad Rehan, 18 years old, was one years old when he was exposed to the toxic gas. Since then he has undergone two heart surgeries and doctors say his lungs are severly damaged.

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Raghu Rai 2002 Dr. Rashimi Jha treats victims of the Bhopal disaster at a clinic she has set up at her home. Her eyes and lungs were injured by the gas.

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Raghu Rai 2002 Years after the tragedy many survivors have not received any compensation and are struggling with legal aid to get their claims settled.

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Raghu Rai 2002 Pushpa, 70 years old, is visited by her nieces. Ever since she has been exposed to the toxic gas, the Bhopal Memorial Hospital and research Centre has become her second home.

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Raghu Rai 2002 Alia Bi with her niece Rehana who as been shrinking since she got exposed to the toxic gas.

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Raghu Rai 2002 Jamuna Devi is being treated for her lungs at the Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre.

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Raghu Rai 2002 Hasan Ali, 70 years old, is a victim of the gas disaster. He suffers from multiple disorders.

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Raghu Rai 2002 Sohanlal Soni has frequent bouts of coughing due to the toxic gas.

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Raghu Rai 2002 Ghous Mohammad gets some symptomatic relief in the hospital before returning to daily pain and difficulties to breath.

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Raghu Rai 2002 Mohammed ARIF has pulmonary fibrosis due to the toxic gas, a condition that can only be cured by replacing the lungs.

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Raghu Rai 2002 Sukhdev Dubey's lungs have not been normal since the gas leak, according to a resident doctor at the Phopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre.

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Raghu Rai 2002 Hasan ALI, 70 years old, is a victim of the gas disaster. He suffers from multiple disorders. His seven grown-up daughters say that their education and marriages have suffered heavily from their father's illness.

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Raghu Rai 2002 Protesters seeking justice for the victims of the tragedy call on the U.S multinational, Dow Chemicals, to accept liability for the Bhopal disaster and to take care of the victims. Dow Chemicals and Union Carbide merged in February 2001.

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Raghu Rai 2002 Nadira, 42 years old, waits with her daughter Naseem for her turn at the outpatient clinic. She is one of the 3.000 people who make this daily trip throughout Bhopal for medicines to relieve themselves from the acute pain.

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 Raghu Rai 2004 December 2, 1984, during routine maintenance operations in the Union Carbide plant at Bhopal, a large quantity of water entered one of the storage tanks triggering a runaway reaction that resulted in the deaths of more than 16,000 people and the maiming of more than 500,000 others. Here, Gas victims demonstrating at Bhopal railway station. 

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Raghu Rai 2004 Unending pain: Radha Bai, age 45, lost her three children in the tragedy. To make up she adopted three children, brought them up like her own, but her grief at the loss is unabated

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Raghu Rai 2004 Rubeda Banu with her 3 sons, 2 daughters and her husband. The sick eldest daughter who has no hope for a regular married life.

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Raghu Rai 2004 Dr.Satpathy at Hamidia hospital Bhopal with the foetus of gas victims. 

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Raghu Rai 2004 Shrinking lady. Jugar Bai Maurya, age 75. Her hands have been shrinking over the years and she has been debilitated to the point of becoming an invalid.

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Raghu Rai 2004

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Raghu Rai 2002 India. Bhopal. 2002. View of the town. end

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cast Raghu Rai, Magnum Photos: Portrait Of A Corporate Crime images and text credit   www.     www.magnumphotos.com www.elmundo.es       Music McIsaac        created olga.e. thanks for watching