National, News

Oil pollution; 7 children died as a result

By Mamer Abraham


At least seven children born with deformities in South Sudan’s Ruweng Administrative Area have died, since commencement of oil production in the area.

The Chief Administrator, Stephano Wieu Mialek disclosed at the Third High-Level Meeting on Environmental Issues and 5% oil share in oil-producing states, in Juba.

Mr. Wieu argued that as other areas do not witness children born with deformities, explains that oil exploration was responsible.

“A simple conclusion has been made. If it is happening in Unity, if it is happening in Upper Nile, if it is happening in Ruweng Administrative Area, and it is not happening in other states or areas, then this is related to oil,” he commented.

To drive his argument further, the chief Administrator displayed an image of a child born with deformities, but the picture is withheld for respect of the deceased.

“This is the recent case of a child referred recently to Nairobi, and unfortunately that child died. As laypeople, our argument is that this is related to oil,” Wieu said.

He stressed that the picture of the baby who recently died in Nairobi was a summary of the whole issue of children born with deformities in Unity State, Upper Nile State, and Ruweng Administrative Area.

“When we speak of environmental issues, this summarizes, and this is almost the seventh child if I am not wrong. So, you can see the issues that we are dealing with,” he added.

Meanwhile, the representative of the governor of Unity State at the meeting stated that oil pollution was prevalent in Unity State as children were also born with deformities and urged the ministries of environment and petroleum to take action to mitigate the occurrence.

In June, the minister of environment, Josephine Napwon Cosmas, threatened to sue oil companies over the death of a baby who was born with deformities in the Ruweng Administrative Area.

The baby was referred to Juba Teaching Hospital but passed on.

The minister stated that the samples had been collected and sent abroad for a test to be carried out to confirm whether the baby died of an oil pollution-related disease.

“Mostly affecting children who are delivered; if we get the results, the pollution is real; of course, we know; as soon as we get the right results, then those companies, we will sue them or let them do compensation for the lives lost and anything that has caused pollution and has affected the lives of people,” Napwon said.

She added that they would announce it publicly when the results were returned, whether positive or negative.


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