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Tags Current Affairs

Black rain survivors of Japan

Date: 03 August 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

One week ahead of the 75th anniversary of Hiroshima being struck by the first atomic bomb, a district court in Japan has recognised survivors of the post-explosion “black rain”.

 

Background

The ruling allows people who were outside a government-defined zone at the time of the event, to be recognised as atomic bomb survivors. This enables the 84 plaintiffs to avail benefits, including free medical care, given to the other survivors.

 

Details

  • The United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and another one on Nagasaki three days later on August 9.

  • The explosions caused by the bombs and the resultant firestorms are believed to have killed around 80,000 people in Hiroshima and around 40,000 people in Nagasaki.

  • Thousands more died in both cities in the following years due to their exposure to radiation from the blast and also from the black rain that fell in the aftermath of the explosions.

  • An estimated 69 percent of the buildings in Hiroshima were destroyed by the atomic bomb.

  • The debris and soot from this, mixed with the radioactive fallout from the bomb, rose high into the atmosphere in the form of a mushroom cloud.

  • This material combined with the vapour in the atmosphere and came down as dark drops of liquid that has been called black rain.

  • Survivors of the black rain described it as consisting of large, greasy drops that are much heavier than normal raindrops.

  • Witnesses have been quoted as saying that they saw many desperate survivors of the blast, with their skins burnt and severely dehydrated, drinking the dark fluid to quench their thirst.

  • The black rain contaminated everything it came in contact with, and dead fish were reported floating in water bodies and severely ill cattle were seen lying in the fields.

  • Black rain has caused acute radiation symptoms (ARS) in many who were exposed to it, with reports of people suffering from nausea and diarrhoea for weeks.

  • Other ARS include fever, sore throat, and loss of hair. Over time, many people who were exposed to black rain have developed cancer.

  • The ruling may pave the way for the government to reconsider the limits it has set on who can be considered a survivor of the atomic bomb.

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