No fewer than 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. The Nation gathered that natives of the community do not have access to potable drinking water as their only source of water
No fewer than 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.
The Nation gathered that natives of the community do not have access to potable drinking water as their only source of water is from contaminated stagnant ponds.
Our correspondent reports that the community is also threatened by frequent flood incidents and water surge resulting in the displacement of natives and destruction of houses.
A youth leader of the village, Mr. Henry Ekpe Nkan lamented that they depend on existing ponds and other
stagnant water that flows 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 said this unhealthy disposition throw 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”
Nkan said the only borehole drilled by ExxonMobil many years ago has collapsed and the well contaminated while the entire plumbing system has decayed leaving many generations of people to help themselves with any available water despite the unsanitary conditions.
Mr Isaac Williams, supervisor for Education in Ibeno local government who hails from the community said people abandoned borehole drilled by ExxonMobil when it was discovered that the water contained some dirty particles suspected to be crude oil as they were fetching the water for domestic use.
Williams recalled that 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 multinational oil companies to come to our rescue by giving us good water. We believe that someday succor would come our way”
When our correspondent visited the borehole provided to the community by ExxonMobil, it was a tale of neglect and outright abandonment as it was 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 if 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 there was no personnel to attend to patients.
“Some health workers only come here to give immunization vaccines to our children and left but nobody to attend to patients during emergencies”
He said lack of medical facility increased adult and infant mortality rate in the oil rich community as many people felt sick and died monthly through suspected water borne diseases.