Saturday, April 15, 2006

Newmont Ghana's Stagnant Water and Malaria

Mosquitoes invade Ahafo communities
Newmont blamed, but mining co says accusation unjustified

From Clement Boateng, reporting from Trome near Dokyikrom. | Posted: Thursday, April 13, 2006

Communities around Newmont Ghana Gold Limited’s Ahafo gold mining project are blaming the company for the increasing population of mosquitoes and sudden rise in the cases of malaria in the area.

According to the residents, mosquitoes were not rampant in the area before Newmont constructed the water dam on the Subri River because “Subri River flowed swiftly, and there was no huge stagnant pool of water.”

“Now Newmont has dammed the river Subri and the stagnant pool of water in the dam is serving as breeding grounds for mosquitoes and this has led to the high prevalence of malaria in the area,” a resident complained.

Some of the mosquito-infested villages and hamlets near the dam that Chronicle visited were Dokyikrom, Trome, and Agya Brobbey village.

At Trome, Yakubu Issa, a farmer, told The Chronicle that hardly do they sleep at night due to the heavy presence of mosquitoes in the area.

He said even though mosquitoes have been in the area for ages, the construction of the water dam by Newmont has compounded the problem. At the time of The Chronicle’s visit to the area, his three-year-old boy, Adams Yakubu, was in bed suffering severely from malaria.

According to Yakubu Issa, the people in the area formed a committee to meet with the company to find a lasting solution to the mosquito invasion and the rising malaria incidence in the area “but in a desperate attempt to break our front, Newmont has intentionally recruited all the members of the committee numbering about twenty four as guards over the very water dam that is breeding mosquitoes.”

“In fact, we are not happy about what Newmont is doing. It is using divide and rule tactics to break our front and drown our complaints and we are very much aware of this trick.”

Isaac Azere, a farmer at Agya Brobbey’s village also confirmed that mosquitoes have invaded the area and there had been a sudden increase in malaria cases in the villages.

Afia Achiaa, a mother of six from a hamlet near Agya Brobbey’s village, said her family members are also victims of the mosquitoes.

Mosquito bites were evident on the skin of Kwame Aboa, her one-year-old son.


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