Horrific Aftermath of the Bombs
The Hibakusha is the word used for the victims of the atomic bombings in the year 1945 of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan by the United States. The horrific aftermath of the bombings were witnessed by many survivors who shared their stories of the fateful day with the public. Some people saw the mushroom cloud in the air, and some were trapped in it. Many people were left with tattered clothes or nearly naked, and they were burnt, swollen, and blackened. They appeared as ghostly figures whose eyes were shut or some had their eyeball sockets hanging out. The injured in this attack had their skin hanging like ribbons from their bones, and some were even begging for water. It was reported that nearly 140,000 people were killed in Hiroshima and nearly 70,000 were reported from Nagasaki. People who were near the epicenter were vaporized into the air due to the extremely hot temperatures resulting from the blasts.
The survivors of the blast faced many health problems from Radiation poisoning like the Prodromal Syndrome, which is a sort of mental illness. The Bone Marrow death was being caused by the radiation level which was between 2 and 10 Gray (joules of radiation per kilogram of matter), and in this situation the production of white and red blood cells are stopped because of the loss of blood-making cells. As a result, the loss of platelets may cause fatal hemorrhage and white blood cells, a cause of infections, and decreases in blood cells may cause anemia. With the loss of water and electrolytes from the body, the damage is caused to the epithelial cells, and if it is combined with the bone marrow damage, then it proves fatal. Even some people may suffer damage to central nervous system, and it can cause death if they are exposed to radiation levels of 50 Gray.
Due to ignorance of the people to the radiation sickness, the Hibakusha people had to suffer discrimination at the hands of the general public, especially in the areas of work or marriage. While watching out for the statistics, the increase in the birth defects or any kind of malformation has decreased, but still there is less awareness amongst the people. People do not marry women from Hiroshima and Nagasaki as they believe that they are genetically damaged, and fears that children born of them will be deformed.
The Niju Hibakusha Double Survivors
The Niju Hibakusha are the people who are double survivors of both the bombings in Hiroshima as well as Nagasaki. In 2009, the Japanese government recently recognized Tsutomu Yamaguchi (pictured) as a Niju Hibakusha because, at the time of bombing, he was 3 kilometers away from the sight of the bombing and suffered severe injuries in Hiroshima, and was also exposed to residual radiation in his hometown of Nagasaki. He died not long after receiving this acknowledgement. All in all, around 165 people were thought to have survived both blasts to earn the moniker of Niju Hibakusha.
The government officially recognized these people as the Hibakusha who were few kilometers away from the hypocenter, exposed to radiation as a result of fallout. These included those who were 2 kilometers away from the hypocenter (ground zero) within 2 weeks, or the unborn babies who were carried in the womb there at the time. These people received special allowances from the government, and there were many Korean survivors, Japanese-Americans, and many other foreign survivors as well.