South Sudan: oil state minister slams companies over pollution’s devastation of women’s and infant health 

by John Adukata 

“Women are being rendered barren, or are miscarrying or dying during birth. Babies are being born deformed. And the number of these horrible incidents is rising at an alarming rate,” states Abraham Ngor, minister of information for South Sudan’s oil-rich Ruweng state.  

According to the minister, two of the children born this month lacked all limbs.

The cause: the sources of water in the area of these infants’ birth have been polluted by oil spillages. 

Ngor released the following figures: between 2015 and 2019, 267 miscarriages were registered in the state. Between 2017 and 2019, 10 children were born deformed, while 12 women died during labor.

As he and others pointed out, these figures cover merely the incidents registered. Many families don’t bother to report such cases – too much trouble, no results expected, dangerous to do so.  

The oil companies reportedly responsible for this widespread contamination include China Petroleum National Company (CNPC) and Malaysia’s Petronas.