Sudan: Toxic Mining Linked to Birth Deformities

Khartoum — The 'Demanded Bodies Association' has reported more than 1,500 foetal and neonatal deformities caused by mining companies using harmful and toxic chemicals such as cyanide and mercury in Sudan.

On Tuesday, Ahmed Mukhtar told a news conference in Khartoum on the occasion of the launch of the association, which comprises 38 members, that they have monitored bird mortality and changes of the conditions of tree leaves in 15 Sudanese states because of mining.

He accused official bodies of obstructing complaints and protests even those that reached the judiciary.

Omar El Mansour, a member of the Association, condemned the encroachment on Dindir National Park in eastern Sudan.

Semi-desert

He pointed to the involvement of the former government in "the allocation of part of the protected areas to some loyalists, and the introduction of foreign companies (from the Gulf), which led to the destruction of forests, the reduction of the tree cover and the displacement of wild animals due to hunting".

El Mansour explained that this has led to climate change, which is the lack of rainfall levels and the transformation of some areas within the reserve to semi-desert.

He condemned Ethiopian agricultural activity in huge areas on the border boundary within the reserve.

He said that the Sad El Atshan dam project caused the flood of the Dindir River to rise, leading to the destruction of horticultural products along the banks of the river, the interruption of the area behind the reservoir and the recording of many drowning cases annually during the forced crossing attempts.

Atbara and Siteet dams

Mohamed Abdelkarim, of the community of the displaced by the Atbara and Siteet dams, said that the dams implementation unit did not fulfil the promises made to the displaced. They made them live in "cages of zinc" that are commensurate with the nature of the area and cannot accommodate members of the same family with direct drilled two-metre deep toilets, resulting in problems of rash, pollution and various other diseases.

He condemned the silence concerning "Ethiopian aggression and the seizure of agricultural land in El Fashaga area by force," which led to the starvation of the people of the region.

Oil extraction

Dr Hanadi Abdelrahman revealed that the exploration and extraction of oil in the southern part of West Kordofan has led to a dire decline in the birth rate, low fertility and loss of capacity resulted in social crises and semi-public divorce cases.

She said the oil boom had caused damage to land, ground and surface water and the environment was affected by rising fumes and decrease of livestock.

She pointed to the impact of the security conditions imposed by the companies on the lives of the population, the restrictions on movement, the harassment and the attacks against the nomadic pastoralists from 'various military bodies'.

She condemned the failure of the oil companies in to establish service facilities for citizens and not to develop a plan of prevention of environmental risks in addition to not employing the people of the region in the companies except in minimum employment on a temporary basis.

Bird mortality

As reported by Radio Dabanga last week, environmentalists reported the death of a large number of livestock and birds in Rashad and El Tadamon in South Kordofan, following the resumption of mining in the area according to a decision of the acting governor of the state.

On Thursday, residents of Wakara in El Tadamon gave the mining company in the area 72 hours to leave after large numbers of livestock and birds died since the company resumed its activities earlier this month.

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