Skip to navigationSkip to content

30 years later, someone live-tweeted the Bhopal gas disaster—and it’s frightening

AP Photo/Peter Kemp
This is where it all began.
By Devjyot Ghoshal
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

This post has been corrected.

On Dec. 03, a little past 1 a.m., a Twitter handle began live-tweeting the Bhopal gas disaster, as if the world’s worst industrial accident was playing out in real-time exactly three decades after it actually transpired.

Over the next three hours, another 90 tweets followed, many of them capturing a victim’s experience of the immediate aftermath of the gas leak.

Despite the years gone by, the horror still seems real—with panicking families, vomiting children, women suffering miscarriages and scenes of despair and death. Thousands of victims had inhaled the Methyl Isocyanate gas, which leaked out of the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal.

There’s no accurate data on the number of people who died because of the gas leak. The government has so far paid compensation for a little over 5,000 deaths, though unofficial estimates say that over 25,000 people died as a result of the leak.

The chilling blow-by-blow Twitter accounts were adapted from stories on the website of the Bhopal Medical Appeal.

The owner of the Twitter handle later clarified that they had not taken prior permission from the Bhopal Medical Appeal, and were tweeting to draw attention to the accident and its victims.

Correction: The Twitter handle began live-tweeting a little after 1 a.m., not 3 a.m. as incorrectly reported initially.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.