letter exposes 1957 hydrogen bomb tests

Growing numbers of international news reports about high numbers of cancers and other lethal diseases linked to nuclear testing in the fifties and sixties have now been joined by the Cook Islands.
In a copy of a letter given to avaiki nius agency, former Rakahanga resident Tauariki Greig recalls being exposed to the 1957 hyrdogen bomb test by the British government on Christmas Atoll.

“I was playing hide and seek with my family; my father had hoisted me onto his shoulders to help me hide in a tree. It was a beautiful sunny clear day and I will never forget the flash of light brighter than the sun," says Greig in her letter.

Sent to the Home Office in London, Greig got a routine response asking for copies of all correspondence.

No further response was forthcoming.

"Shortly after" the blast, says Greig, "the ground shook. We didn’t know what was going to happen. That evening the whole sky turned red.

"It stayed like that for about a week. A few days after the blast our lagoon changed colour and all of the fish died; floated to the surface. Our parents wouldn’t let us eat the fish so the men buried them.”

Greig says DNA testing in New Zealand reveals genetic mutation as a possible explanation for cancer like symptoms she is suffering, nearly half a century later.


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