29th May 2024
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Child dies after drowning in contaminated fish pond in Yambio

Author: Obaj Okuj | Published: Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Photo showing dead fish floating in a pond where a child tragically drowned - Credit: Baraka John

A two-year-old child died after drowning in a contaminated fish pond while collecting dead fish in Yambio County, Western Equatoria State.

Daniel Kaka, a relative of the deceased child, informed Eye Radio that the child was one of several children gathering dead fish from a family fish pond.

He explains that the children hurriedly collected dead fish, suspected to have perished after an unidentified individual cut down a poisonous tree that had fallen into the pond.

Kaka notes that the lethal tree, known locally as “Nguru,” is commonly referred to as Ironwood.

The tree is a heartwood rich in toxic chemicals that make it essentially non-biodegradable.

The fell tree’s poisonous substance contaminated the Nagori stream in Masiya, killing some fish.

Kaka says five children who were exposed to the contaminated water were admitted at the Yambio Civil Hospital but were later discharged.

According to him, postmortem results confirmed water poisoning caused the boy’s death.

“The children were at home, then they saw the dead fishes so they were like going to collect them then one of them fell into the water, then she was unconscious,” Kaka said.

“Some neighbours came, and they tried to make a percussion then to aspirate the water out but there was no way,” he said.

“They took the child to the police, and from the police, they went to the hospital, when reaching the hospital, the vital signs were not working well so it was stopped so the child passed away.”

Meanwhile, Moses Undo, the Acting Director of Fisheries and Animals at the State Ministry of Animal Resources, Fisheries, and Tourism, who visited the scene, confirmed the incident.

Undo says the ministry instructed residents to promptly remove the toxic tree from the stream water.

“The Department of Fisheries has condemned what happened. We have been advising our people mostly customer fishers not to use these toxic trees which are killing fish,” Undo said.

“It’s not only fish which are dying but there are only some aquatic species dying it is a big loss,” he said.

“It is very sad to see that the same fishing farmer lost his child and now we are advising all the people around not to use that stream again.”

The tragic incident is the first of its kind in the Masiya area of Yambio town.

Authorities are reportedly searching for the individual who cut down the poisonous tree in Masiya.

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