'Hiroshima Maiden' Yamaoka dies at 82

An 82-year old survivor of the 1945 US atomic bombing of Hiroshima, died of punemonia at a nursing facility for the elderly, her family said.

Michiko Yamaoka, who died on Saturday, had suffered severe burns on her face as she was exposed to radiation when she was barely 800 meteres away from ground Zero.

Yamaoka, one of the 'Hiroshima Maidens', a group of 25 disfigured young women who had operations in New York in the 1950s. Charity groups organised by American author Norman Cousins and other volunteers helped in the treatment.

The natives of Hiroshima were exposed to heat waves and radiation from the bombing on August 6, 1945.

Yamaoka, who did not talk about her experiences initially, opened up after a long time in 1979. She started talking about the atomic bombing and the war. She had earlier suffered a stroke in 2006.

She met Bernard Simon, one of the plastic surgeons who had operated on the Hiroshima women, in 1995. (Kyodo) IRH 02041256

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