Health Situation In Oil Fields Deteriorating: Commissioner

This article was last updated on May 25, 2022

The commissioner said that the oil exploration has caused damage to the environment in some oil fields in South Sudan because of the poor management of the waste products that are being removed from the grounds during the production of the oil.

According to the commissioner, the villages that are affected due to oil discovery and expansion includes the Melut Payam, Paloich Payam, Pannhomdit Payam, Goldora Payam, Wun-Amum Payam, Pariak Payam and Thaingrail Payam northern Upper Nile State.

The total numbers of villages demolished by the oil operating companies are 979 villages; Melut Payam 224, Paloich Payam 309, Pariak Payam 109, Galdora Payam 92, Wun Amum Payam 111, Thinagrial Payam 49 and Pannhomdit Payam 85 villages.

Commissioner Akuoch said the county has not received any support from the oil operating companies and government.

The Commissioner said that oil exploration has had an impact on the reproductive system of the female in the area causing barrenness and delivery of deformed babies.

“We had two of the pregnant women who had side effect of the impacts, when taken to Nairobi Kenya for treatment they went and delivered with deformed babies lacking limbs,” the commissioner said.

There were no independent sources to confirm the claims.

“This has not been happening in our community and in the descendant of the clan, before oil discovery and expansion those deformities where not there,” he said adding that recently in Wun Amum payam, a woman gave birth to a baby with a tail.

“This was not there at all they are the immediate effects of the oil chemicals contaminants,” he said.

Akuoch is calling upon the government and the oil operating companies in collaboration with the National ministry of oil and petroleum to critically look into the health impacts and help shift the communities to the safer sides.

He said that the communities are living within a distance of less than 50 meters which he said was supposed to be a distance of more than 300 meters.

“The local communities are also complaining of health impacts like frequent abortions for pregnant women especially those who are residing near the water, in addition to many other diseases of which they do not know the cause, but which were not there before the oil establishment,” Akuoch lamented.

Akuoch added that the oil field has also occupied and encroached on land used for accommodation, agriculture and cattle grazing areas. 

The villages that were lost by oil companies as a result of oil discovery and expansions were 236, the total villages that were affected due to the presence of the Rigs, Pipelines, and Roads were 312 , and the villages that were affected as a result of soil excavation, roads and electricity were 146 with those affected geologically were 285. 

According to the commissioner, the government should have the companies Act to follow up with article 100 subsection (8) of the Petroleum Act to carry out an environmental and social audit. 

He said the audit will define the nature and extent of past and current environmental degradation in the oil field complexes; determine the impact of this degradation on the quality of life in human habitations in and around those complexes; and assess the environmental impact of those operations on fauna and flora, including livestock, wildlife, water, and aquatic resources.

South Sudan national parliament has passed a resolution demanding for an environmental assessment of the oil producing states in three months and be presented to the House.

This could also be the process by which all past damage and related compensation is to be settled with the affected populations. 

“In late august this year representatives from Norwegian Workers Union, a representative from Norwegian Embassy in South Sudan, a representative from Ghana, a representative from South Sudan Ministry of Petroleum and Mining and journalists from different media houses paid an environmental impact assessment visits to Palouch in which they found the assessment was not in good condition but the oil operating companies said they would relocate the communities affected to safer side but not done,” the commissioner explains.

The commissioner said that the DPOC oil company last time promised to relocate the citizens but until now there is nothing done on the ground.

Upper Nile State, Unity and Tharjiath oil fields are the worst affected by oil exploration where the local community and the surrounding areas are not well secured thus the county authority is doing its best to protect the community from harmful chemicals that might be damped recklessly by the oil companies management.

The Commissioner of Melut County Mr. Akuoch said that Paloich oil fields were established by Sudan government in 2000 in Adar oil station followed by other three oil fields in Paloich, Gumy and Moleeta when people were dispatched by the long civil war.

Commissioner Akuoch Teng Deng in his speech said that waste water is more dangerous to the community of Palouch and that it contributed to the health deterioration.

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