2 more gas tragedy victims die of COVID-19 in Bhopal; toll 7

Two more Bhopal gas tragedy victims succumbed to coronavirus, taking the total number of such deaths in the Madhya Pradesh capital to seven, an official said on Tuesday.
A 70-year-old gas mishap survivor died on April 17 while another 60-year-old tragedy victim died on April 14, Rachna Dhingra, of the NGO Bhopal Group for Information and Actionwhich is working for the gas mishap victims, told PTI.
Samples of both the victims came out positive for coronavirus after their death, she said.
Survivors of the 1984 toxic gas tragedy are more vulnerable to the coronavirus infection and need special care, she said.
Earlier this month, five victims of the gas leak had died due to the coronavirus disease here.
The Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Center (BMHRC), a dedicated facility for the treatment of gas mishap survivors, was recently turned into a medical facility for coronavirus patients, causing hardship to these people.
However, after the outrage over the five deaths, the government against classified BMHRC as a facility for the gas tragedy victims.
The first coronavirus victim from Bhopal, a 55-year- old man, died at a city hospital on April 5, Dhingra said.
Another 80-year-old gas tragedy victim, who was a retired employee of the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), died on April 8 and his sample came out positive for coronavirus on April 11, she said.
Besides, a 40-year-old gas tragedy victim, who was suffering from oral cancer for more than a year, died on April 12 and his sample test report later came out positive for coronavirus, she said.
Another 52-year-old gas mishap survivor, who suffered from a permanent injury, had history of tuberculosis. He recently tested positive for coronavirus and died on his way to the COVID-19 ward at Hamidia hospital, she said.
Also, a 75-year-old senior journalist, who survived the gas tragedy, died on April 11 and his sample test report came out positive for coronairus on April 14, she said.
On March 21, some organisations working for the welfare of gas tragedy survivors wrote to the state and central authorities concerned, saying an overwhelming number of gas victims suffer from respiratory, cardiovascular, kidney problems and cancer as a result of exposure to the toxic gas that leaked at the Union Carbide factory here in 1984.
They claimed that these survivors were at least five times more vulnerable to COVID-19 than other people and therefore, need special care.
According to the state health bulletin, Bhopal has so far reported seven deaths due to COVID-19.
All the deceased were gas tragedy victims, Dhingra said.