Water-borne Diseases Kill 14 In A’Ibom

                             

Fourteen persons have been reported dead in Okoroutip community in Ibeno local government area of Akwa Ibom State from water-borne diseases which broke out in the village between last December and April this year. Investigation by Akelicious reveals that apart from persistent flood that threatens the community, it has no access to potable water. Narrating the pathetic situation in the community to our correspondent in Okoroutip, the youth president, Mr. Henry Ekpe Nkan, said that the only sources of water for the people are ponds and streams that flow from the creeks. Nkan said: “As a riverine area where there is no bush to dispose off our wastes, the community drops faeces and other organic substances in the same streams and ponds that they drink from and other household chores.” He said these unhealthy living conditions had caused water-related epidemic where 14 lives have been lost from December last year till date. According to him, “From December last year we have buried 14 people who died from water-borne sicknesses and more could still die this year because nothing has been done to help us by the state government.” Nkan said that the only borehole drilled by ExxonMobil many years ago had collapsed and the well contaminated while the entire plumbing system had decayed leaving the people to help themselves with any available water despite the unsanitary conditions. The supervisor for Education in Ibeno council who hails from the community, Mr. Isaac Williams, said that the people abandoned the borehole when it was discovered that the water contained particles suspected to be crude. Williams recalled that the water from the borehole turned dark within an hour confirming that it was not fit for drinking. He said: “The problem of water in Okoroutip community is a consequence of the terrain of the area as a result of heavy presence of oil. We are still pleading with multinational oil companies to come to our rescue by giving us drinkable water. We believe that someday succour would come our way.” When our correspondent visited the abandoned borehole, it was a tale of neglect and abandonment as it was overgrown by weeds and other mangrove shrubs where the women dry their clothes on the rusted water tank stand. The youth leader said the situation had been worsened by the absence of medical facility for the treatment for victims of water-related sicknesses in the area. Nkan said that the only health centre in the area which was constructed by the former council chairman, Mrs, Regina Egbe, was not equipped and there were no personnel to attend to patients. “Some health workers only come here to give immunisation vaccines to our children and leave, There is nobody to attend to patients during emergencies,” he said, adding that the lack of medical facility had increased adult and infant mortality rate in the oil-rich community.

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