Ivory Coast - dumping of toxic waste
On the 19 August a ship unloaded toxic chemical waste into a number of trucks that then dumped the waste onto 10-14 sites around Abidjan. These sites included an area next to the main municipal waste site, alongside roads, a channel leading to a lake, and other areas of open ground.
The waste contained mixed petroleum distillates, hydrogen sulphide, mercaptans, phenolic compounds, sodium hydroxide and traces of organochlorines. Testing showed that there was no radioactive material. The hydrogen sulphide and mercaptans made the waste extremely malodorous.
Since the waste was dumped, over 15,000 people have sought medical attention, overwhelming the medical services in Abidjan.
WHO is responding by providing technical and logistical support to the Ministry of Health as well as medicines and computer equipment. A team from WHO Headquarters and from the WHO Regional Office for Africa is supporting the WHO Country Office in coordinating the public health response to this incident. WHO is also cooperating with other UN and NGO teams in Abidjan who are responding to this emergency.
The WHO Country Office issues regular situation reports.