A Survivor's Tale
The bomb dropped on Nagasaki, August 9, 1945 and killed 74,000 people, injured as many again and left millions homeless. Poet Fumiko Miura, who was then a 16-year-old resident of the city, remembers that apocalyptic day.
The remains of Urakami Cathedral
August 9 approaches, and I am reminded again of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki 57 years ago, when I was a 16-year-old schoolgirl. I'm 73 now, and even now I seem to hear screams for help. That one plutonium bomb killed 74,000 people and heavily injured 75,000. It had the explosive power of 21,000 tons of TNT, and the temperature of the ground at the hypocentre of the explosion rose in a flash to 3,000-4,000 degrees. Almost everyone within four kilometres of the explosion was burned and killed, or received external injuries.
Note: The text for this story was adapted from an article that appeared in the Guardian UK, August 6, 2002, written by Fumiko Miura. Extracts from Fumiko Miura's testimony were taken from her own book, Pages from the Seasons and translated by James Kirkiup.
Surviving victims of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are called hibakusha.