By Chioma Onuegbu
Uyo—NO fewer than 14 persons have been reportedly killed from water borne disease in Okoroutip community, an oil producing community in Ibeno Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State since December last year.
Residents of the community, who disclosed this to newsmen at the weekend, lamented that apart from lack of source of potable water, they also suffer ravaging flood as a result of activities of oil companies operating in the area.
The youth president, Mr. Henry Nkan, said the community depended on existing ponds and water that flows from creeks for their source of drinking water, which has caused the lives of many
He said: “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.
“From December last year till date, we have buried about 14 people that died from water borne diseases and we are afraid that more lives would be lost as nothing is being done to rescue us from the situation.”
Nkan noted that the even only borehole in the community which was drilled by ExxonMobil many years ago is no longer functioning.
Corroborating Nkan’s position on the borehole, the supervisor for Education in Ibeno local government and indigene of the community Mr Isaac Williams said the people abandoned the borehole drilled by ExxonMobil when it was discovered that the water contained some dirty particles suspected to be crude oil which was not good for domestic use and for drinking.
“The problem of water in Okoroutip is a consequence of the terrain of the area and 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 source of water. We believe that someday succour would come our way.
“The borehole is a tale of neglect and outright abandonment. It has been overgrown by weeds. Women now hang their washed clothes on the rusted water tank stand.
Also the only Health Centre in the area constructed by the former council chairman Mrs Regina Egbe is not equipped, no personnel to attend to patients.
“Health workers only come here to give immunization vaccines to our children and go back. There is no health personnel to attend to patients during emergencies. Lack of medical facility contributes to adult and infant mortality in this community”, he lamented