Ministry Dismisses Baseless Report of “Mystery Sickness” by Guardian UK


Addis ababa, April 27/2020(ENA) The allegation of foreign media that the natural gas development underway in Somali Regional State is baseless and far from the truth, according to Ministry of Mines and Petroleum.

In a press statement it sent to ENA, the ministry recalled that The Guardian UK report under the title “The mystery sickness bringing death and dismay to eastern Ethiopia” which  claims the death of more than 2,000 person due to water pollution caused by the natural gas. development.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) echoed the false report on March 2, 2020.

Following the Guardian report on February 20, 2020, the ministry established a fact finding  team, which was mandated to investigate the chemicals listed by the newspaper as causes of the diseases, from the pertinent bodies.

The Guardian claimed that Poly-GCL that has been prospecting for oil and gas in the Ogaden Basin since 2014 used chemicals that allegedly caused fever, and headache, leading to death.

The fact finding team made observations and inspections of the natural gas wells in Shelabo, Dbeweyn towns and Jiraale Kebelle, the ministry elaborated.

The team  ascertained that the two water wells drilled by Poly-GCL are providing services as they have no problem.

According to the statement, the sickness of five people attributed to water pollution is again false for their illnesses differed and were caused by various reasons.

The Regional Health Bureau has also confirmed that there are no ailments that have mysteriously popped out as claimed by the paper.

The ministry added that the team has above all ascertained that management of natural gas wells, waste disposal are up to international standards of environmental protection.

Thus, the ministry has urged the Guardian and BBC to correct the baseless and false information they produced and perpetrated.