The Zamfara Crisis
In March 2010 an unprecedented epidemic of lead poisoning was discovered in Zamfara State, northern Nigeria. Around 400 children died as a result of lead absorption from artisanal gold mining and processing. While medical care has been provided to over 2,500 children, and seven villages have been remediated (environmentally cleaned), much remains to be done. Significant remediation is still needed in new sites, and this combined with continued contamination from unsafe mining and processing practices means children – and adults – remain at risk of lead poisoning.
Medical treatment has temporarily controlled mortality, but resolving the crisis requires more than this. The root cause of the lead poisoning crisis is unsafe mining and ore processing. Broad implementation of safer mining and ore processing across Zamfara State is the only long-term solution to the crisis.
Funds to tackle the Zamfara lead poisoning crisis – with a specific focus on the remediation of Bagega – were promised by the President in May 2012, but have unfortunately not yet been released by the Secretary of the Government of the Federation.
The devastating consequences of this inaction are most sharply seen in the village of Bagega and surrounding areas, where up to 1500 children continue to needlessly suffer the effects of lead poisoning. Medical treatment cannot start until Bagega has been environmentally remediated. Remediation is a process which removes lead from the home environment. In the absence of remediation, children are continually re-exposed to the toxins and medical treatment is useless.
Until these funds are released to the appropriate agencies on the ground in Zamfara State, environmental remediation in Bagega cannot begin. MSF is ready and willing to treat children in this area, but is unable to do so until the urgently needed remediation has been completed.
Remediation was due to begin at the end of October 2012, directly after the present rainy season. If remediation is not started by the beginning of 2013, it will not be possible to complete the process before the next rainy season- and poisoned children won’t receive treatment for the foreseeable future.
Plans for remediation are in place
TerraGraphics does not wish to undertake the remediation themselves, but rather to certify the remediation, while the work itself will be carried out by Nigerian staff who have been specially trained in remediation by TerraGraphics. TerraGraphics employs rigorous scientific standards in its remediation methods. These are adapted specifically to lead contamination and address the particular challenges that this type of pollution presents. The results are verified using X-ray photospectrometry and in accordance with the best scientific practices used in environmental remediation worldwide.
TerraGraphics, Doctors Without Borders and local stakeholders are all ready to start work immediately upon the release of the funds. Both organisations have been collaborating with Government agencies and ministries to assure there is a system in place that is effective, accountable, transparent and that will guarantee the very best outcomes for the population of Bagega.
Accountability in spending
The Follow the Money campaign calls on all public agencies to uphold the public interest through accountable and transparent management of these funds. We invite the public to get involved in the Campaign today. Help us follow the money to Bagega!
|In Bagega, Zamfara, a Northwestern Village in Nigeria, hundreds of Children needs Lead Poisoning Screening after village remediation!|
|Infographics of the TerraGraphics $3,077,525 proposed budget submitted to the FMoE in Nigeria. Download the full infographics here|
|More Stories in the News|
|(Human Rights Watch) In Nigeria: Death Stalking lead poisoned children
(Huffington Post) Deadly Delays for Nigerian Children
(France 24) Nigerian president urged to tackle lead poisoning
(Institute of Chartered Chemists of Nigeria) The Story of the Zamfara Lead Poisoning Crisis
(News24Nigeria) Network urges FG to release fund on Zamfara lead poisoned
(Premium Times) President Jonathan’s inaction on lead poisoning causing death of hundreds of children
(Channel 4) Why Nigeria's lead poisoning epidemic is set to get worse
(This Day) Saraki Flays Impact of Lead Poisoning on Zamfara Community
(Human Rights Watch) Ask Nigeria’s President What Happened to $4 Million:Social Media Campaign to Save Lives
|(Sahara Reporters) President Jonathan's "Broken Promise" for Lead-Poisoned Children in Zamfara is Target of Social Media Campaign|
|(Voice of America) In Nigeria, Time Running Out for Kids Poisoned by Lead.
(Vanguard Nigeria) Lead Poisoning: Concern grows over committee’s failure to deliver promises.
(Sahara Reporters) Human Rights Watch Releases Report On Child Lead Poisoning Crisis In The North.
(Human Rights Watch) A Heavy Price, Lead Poisoning and Gold Mining in Zamfara.
Blacksmith Institute Project Completion Report on Lead Poisoning in Zamfara.
(Doctors without borders)Lead poisoning conference concludes.
(ChannelsTV) Doctors without Borders call for funds to clean-up Zamfara lead poisoning.
|(YNaija) Nigeria government ignores lead poisoning that killed 400 children in Zamfara
(All Africa News) More Children Risk Lead Poisoning in Zamfara
(Wikipedia) Zamfara State lead poisoning epidemic
(Daily Times)400 children die from lead poisoning in Zamfara
(Sahara Reporters)Death Toll from Zamfara State Lead Poisoning Escalates as Nigerian Government Remains Unperturbed
(Leadership Newspaper)More Children Risk Lead Poisoning In Zamfara
(All Africa News) Lead Poisoning Resurfaces in Zamfara
(Premium Times)Lead poisoning: Zamfara clean-up to cost $4million
(Doctors without Borders)Lead poisoning crisis in Zamfara state northern Nigeria
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