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Health concerns close school in Sudan’s Northern State

January 25 - 2018 SAWARDA
Protests in northern Sudan’s Sawarda against the gold cyanidation site in the area, 8 April 2017 (RD)
Protests in northern Sudan’s Sawarda against the gold cyanidation site in the area, 8 April 2017 (RD)

On Wednesday, the education authorities closed the Sawarda complex school north of Abri in Sudan’s Northern State in response to a spread of cases of coughing, vomiting and shortness of breath among students in the boarding houses.

The parents' council appealed to the school to urge the competent authorities to investigate the causes of the disease

Wael Hasan, the information officer of the six-party Environmental Protection Committee spokesman for the six villages of Sawarda, told Radio Dabanga that the cases have been monitored for two months but became more acute during this week, which prompted the education department to intervene and close the school.

He attributed the situation to the poor environmental and health conditions in the area due to the activities of the International Company for Mining which he says is spreading the mining waste and dust in the air of the area.

Hasan also pointed to the spread of mining activity in the area which includes more than 2,000 miners.

Cyanide

Last week, the six-party Environmental Protection Committee called a mass meeting at Sawarda to protest against the construction of a gold factory that will use cyanide.

Wael Hassan, told Radio Dabanga that the committee invited all the Nubian entities to participate in the meeting.

He said that the meeting would make the necessary decisions on the ways to escalate combating of the factory. He stressed the people’s absolute rejection of the construction of the factory and pointed to the dangerous impact of cyanide on humans and the environment.

He explained that the factory management resumed the construction work three weeks ago, despite the state Governor’s earlier pledges to stop the factory.

Environmental threat

In April 2017, people in Sawarda blocked the highway between Dongola and Halfa, demanding the removal of a gold cyanidation plant in the area. The local authorities then ignored the decision by a judge to suspend the operation of the site.

The pollution caused by the use of cyanide and mercury in gold mining “constitutes the largest and most dangerous threat to the country’s environment”, a Sudanese environment protection expert told Radio Dabanga.

“The use of cyanide and mercury will definitely lead to an environmental disaster in the country,” El Jeili Hamouda Saleh, Professor of Environmental Law at the Bahri University in Khartoum and legal advisor of the National Committee for Environmental Protection said in an interview with Radio Dabanga last year.


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