1. Home
  2. Africa
  3. West Africa
  4. Nigeria

Chlorine gas from water plant kills three in southeast

A man walks past the polluted farmland in Rukpokwu, Nigeria, 13 January 2004. On 3 December 2003, part of an oil pipeline in Rukpokwu in Rivers State burst, devastating the once fertile land around it. The resulting oil spill destroyed farmlands, fish pon
A man walks past oil polluted farmland in Rukpokwu, Nigeria (IRIN)

At least three people were killed when chlorine gas being used at a water treatment plant in Nigeria's southeastern Cross River state escaped into nearby homes, residents and state officials said.

New Netim, a small community in the Odukpani district of the state, adjoining the water treatment plant belonging to the Cross River State Water Board, was enveloped by clouds of chlorine gas on 5 July, leading to the death of three people, said resident Ufot James.

“The dead included a woman and two men while several others were hospitalised,” James said.

Uma Echeghe, an official of the water board, said the gas escaped from one of 24 chlorine cylinders being used to treat water at the water-pumping station following a sudden power failure. But the official said only one death had been reported to the water board.

“We have apologised to the community and intend to pay compensation to affected people,” Echeghe said.

Concern about the safety of chlorine used in the treatment of water in the state was first raised in the capital, Calabar, in May when a similar gas escape affected residential areas in the Ikon Inok and Ediba districts of the city but claimed no fatalities.

Following the May incident, Echeghe said that authorities started chlorinating water at the plant at New Netim, which is not as heavily populated as Calabar city. He added that new safety measures are being put in place to prevent similar accidents in the future.

dm/nr


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

Share this article
Join the discussion

Help make quality journalism about crises possible

The New Humanitarian is an independent, non-profit newsroom founded in 1995. We deliver quality, reliable journalism about crises and big issues impacting the world today. Our reporting on humanitarian aid has uncovered sex scandals, scams, data breaches, corruption, and much more.

 

Our readers trust us to hold power in the multi-billion-dollar aid sector accountable and to amplify the voices of those impacted by crises. We’re on the ground, reporting from the front lines, to bring you the inside story. 

 

We keep our journalism free – no paywalls – thanks to the support of donors and readers like you who believe we need more independent journalism in the world. Your contribution means we can continue delivering award-winning journalism about crises. Become a member of The New Humanitarian today

Become a member of The New Humanitarian

Support our journalism and become more involved in our community. Help us deliver informative, accessible, independent journalism that you can trust and provides accountability to the millions of people affected by crises worldwide.

Join