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Residents lament neglect as eleven cholera victims are buried in Rivers

By Ann Godwin, Port Harcourt
10 December 2019   |   3:57 am
The 11 persons who died of chorea outbreak in Ngo community, Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State, have been buried. The deaths have been blamed on government’s failure to provide potable water in the area.

The 11 persons who died of cholrea outbreak in Ngo community, Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State, have been buried. The deaths have been blamed on government’s failure to provide potable water in the area.

The Guardian gathered that large parts of Andoni communities are surrounded by salt water, a situation that makes it difficult for individuals to drill quality borehole due to the financial implications. It was learnt that the water projects installed by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and past administrations in the area were abandoned due to lack of electricity to power the projects.

Sadly also, The Guardian learnt that the water projects that was powered with solar were also vandalized, thereby living the rural dwellers with no option than to drink from the stream and well. The contamination from the stream, according a consultant pediatrician, Dr. Appollus Josiah, was responsible for the outbreak, which consequently led to the deaths.

Josiah said the deaths would have been avoidable if the relevant authorities had done the appropriate thing by providing potable water and availability of power supply to power the existing water projects in the area. He stressed the need for urgent intervention by the authorities by moving in potable water from the city to the area to avoid further deaths.

It would be recalled that 10 persons were confirmed dead at the weekend following a cholera outbreak, which forced residents to be stooling frequently and vomiting. The victims were rushed to a nearby hospital in the area but they died later.

Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, the youth president of Ngo community, Anthoni Ngere, said residents are helpless and currently living in fear. He lamented that no government agency has come to the aid of the community since the outbreak was announced at the weekend.

According to him, “we are still drinking the same water three days after 10 deaths were recorded, no awareness from any angle, no medication, no help, we are completely helpless and there is so much panic in the area because nobody is sure of his or her health status now. We have complained severally to the state Ministry of Health before and after the incident but no action. No one seems to care about us, we have been abandoned and it is sad.”

Nkere attributed the cause of the outbreak to the ongoing environmental pollution across the state known as black soot, as well as exploration activities by oil companies in the area.

He reiterated: “The water we drink is contaminated with soot, crude oil, it is rain water, stream or well water and this is dry season, all the contaminants have gathered together and we are still drinking it because there is no alternative”.

When contacted, a source from the state Ministry of Health, who craved anonymity, confirmed the incident but maintained that the ministry was working hard to arrest the situation. The source said, the number of casualties is yet to be ascertained adding that it would be wrong to conclude that the incidents was a cholera outbreak.