Posted by Bassey Anthony, Uyo | 15 April 2019 | 1,434 times
At least 14 persons have reportedly died between last December and April this year in Okoroutip, an oil-bearing community in Ibeno Local Government Area Akwa Ibom State, from water borne diseases.
Natives of the community do not have access to potable water with contaminated stagnant ponds the only source of water.
The community is also threatened by frequent flood incidents and water surge leading to displacement of natives and destruction of houses.
The youth leader of the village, Mr. Henry Ekpe Nkan, lamented they depended on existing ponds and other stagnant water flowing from creeks as their daily drinking water.
“As a riverine area where there is no bush to dispose waste, the community dispose faeces and other organic substances in the water and still drink from it,” he stated.
He said this unhealthy disposition throws the entire community into water borne epidemic that has claimed fourteen lives from December last year.
“From December last year, we have buried 14 people that died from water borne sicknesses and more would be buried as nothing is done to help us,” he pleaded.
Nkan said the only borehole drilled by ExxonMobil many years ago has collapsed while the entire plumbing system has decayed, leaving many generations of people to help themselves with any available water despite the unsanitary conditions.
The supervisor for Education in Ibeno local government, who comes from the community Mr Isaac Williams, said the people abandoned borehole drilled by ExxonMobil when it was discovered the water contained some dirty particles suspected to be crude oil as they were fetching the water for domestic use.
Williams recalled the water from the borehole turned dark within an hour confirming that it was not fit for drinking.
“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 multi-national oil companies to come to our rescue by giving us good water .we believe that someday succour would come our way,” he stated.
When our correspondent visited the borehole provided to the community by ExxonMobil many years ago, it was a tale of neglect and outright abandonment.
It has been overgrown by weeds and other mangrove shrubs only for community women to hang their washed cloths on the rusted water tank stand.
The youth leader said the situation is worsened by absence of medical facility to provide urgent treatment for victims of water related sicknesses in the area.
Nkan complained that the only Health Centre in the area constructed by the former council chairman, Mrs. Regina Egbe, is not equipped and has no personnel to attend to patients. (The Nation)
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