Common Symptoms

212Following the disaster on December 2nd-3rd 1984, the Indian Council of Medical Research [ICMR] – a government agency – concluded, on the basis of mortality figures, that over 520,000 exposed persons had poisons circulating in their bloodstream causing different degrees of damage to almost all the systems in the body.

Today in 2016, well over 150,000 chronically ill survivors are in desperate need of medical attention. While official figures report well over 5000 deaths attributable to exposure, a government agency – the Centre for Rehabilitation Studies in Bhopal – reports 2165 deaths attributable to toxic exposure in the year 1997 alone. Unofficial and more correct estimates place the current death toll at over 30,000.


Breathlessness, persistent cough, diminished vision, early age cataracts, loss of appetite, menstrual irregularities, recurrent fever, back and body aches, loss of sensation in the limbs, fatigue, weakness, anxiety and depression are the most common symptoms among survivors. The alarming rise in cancers, TB, reproductive health problems and others such as growth retardation among children born after the disaster remain undocumented. The official agency for monitoring deaths has been closed since 1992.

"As an example of a holistic, environmentally-sound, community-focused and patient-centred approach to healthcare, the Sambhavna Clinic is way ahead of anything I have ever visited or worked in, anywhere in the world."

Dr John Hurst, Senior Lecturer, Honorary Consultant, UCL Medical School / Royal Free Hampstead NHS, London