An official in Ruweng Administrative Area has criticized the national government for “ignoring” the dire need for safe water amid allegations of oil pollution in the area.
Aisha Malual Kiir, the Director for Administration and Finance at the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare in Ruweng said the locals have been left with no choice but to drink from oil-contaminated water in the area.
Malual added that water pollution had caused a serious health problem for the natives especially pregnant mothers.
She attributed the cases of birth defects in the area to the polluted water.
The official questioned how the three-percent oil share meant to provide services to the oil-endowed community is being spent.
“The three or four percent share of the oil given to the community what is it for, we do not know where that money goes,” Aisha.
“I do not want to talk much it but we do not need that money, Ruweng needs clean water and development, our water is contaminated which is causing health complications in the future.”
There have been alarming reports about oil leaks contaminating rivers and settlements in the oilfields.
A scientific study conducted by a German human rights and relief organization noted that more than 180,000 people in the oil-producing areas were at risk of drinking water contaminated by crude oil.
In 2020, residents of the oil-rich border area petitioned the Supreme Court, demanding millions of dollars in compensation for oil spills that have polluted the environment.
Lawyers representing the Ruweng community filed the petition at the Supreme Court, following what they call repeated human rights violations by oil companies that fail to maintain their pipelines.
Residents say the oil leaks have caused deformities in newborns, children being born prematurely, and deaths in Ruweng and Unity State.
But what became of the petition is unclear.
Aisha Malual, who spoke to Eye Radio during the closure of the International Women Conference in Juba on Wednesday, said the level of oil pollution is alarming.
“Every day people are traveling to Khartoum because of Kidney failure. The main problem is water. Today I say Ruweng is in danger whenever we dig for water, the oil comes instead,” the Ruweng official continued.
Ms. Malual stressed the need for the government to pay attention to plight the ordinary citizens in the area.
“Petroleum wastes need serious attention because it causes health complications, the water we have in the area is not healthy water is the main source of life, without water a human is not human.”
“I am also from the government, but water is a serious issue that needs attention from the government. Now mothers give birth to infants with no eyes, one leg which needs serious attention”.
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