Saturday, December 16, 2017

Pregnant residents urged to move out

Medical personnel treat 92 children, 110 adults since Tuesday

 THREE pregnant women affected by the oil spill in Marabella have been ad­vised to move out of the area.

Yesterday, Petrotrin’s chief medical officer, Dr David Jackson, said one moved out of the area with her family, another was staying at a shelter set up for residents, and one was being taken care of at the company’s Augustus Long Hospital in Pointe-a-Pierre.

Jackson was speaking during a news conference organ­ised yesterday by Petro­trin. It took place at Petrotrin’s Learning Resource Centre, Pointe-a-Pierre.

Jackson said up until 7 p.m. on Friday, Petrotrin’s medical personnel attended to 202 people, 92 children and 110 adults since the spill occurred on Tuesday. The company has also been providing meals and water to affected residents.

Most complained about eye irritation, headaches, stomach irritation, vomiting and irrita­tion of the skin, Jackson said.

Some who were asthmatic and wheezing had more diffi­culty breathing as a result of the stench coming from the oil flowing in the Guara­cara River.

Jackson said: “Apart from the pregnant ladies who we kept for a number of hours, thankfully, at this point, there was no one that required pro­longed hospitalisation beyond. Most of the patients, we were able to administer first-aid treatment and, in some cases, on further examination, some had to have oxygen taken.”

A 24-hour emergency shel­­­­­ter at the Marabella North Government Secondary School has been established, and Petrotrin was in the process of establishing an outpost for medical and Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) services at Councillor Arnold Soogrim’s office in Battoo Avenue, Marabella. 

It will be equipped with a 24-hour emergency shuttle service to the Augustus Long Hospital.

For years, residents of Silk Cotton Road, Battoo Avenue, say they have been affected by the nearby refinery and little has been done to assist them.

Petrotrin’s president, Khalid Hassanali, said Petrotrin will be attempting to create short-term, medium-term and long-term measures to assist residents, which may include relocation.

When asked about a pos­sible relocation for the resi­dents living on the banks of the Guaracara River, Petrotrin’s chairman, Lindsay Gillette, said: “We have to look at our options, there is a lot of arro­ga­ted frustration over the past 30 or 40 years, living next to a refinery; Petrotrin must play its part.”

Hassanali said Petrotrin has employed a number of persons from the community but “it is difficult to satisfy everyone”.

He said Petrotrin’s main priority was ensuring members of the community were safe.

Petrotrin officials held a meeting with residents at Silk Cotton Road on Friday to discuss their issues.

Street captain Videsh Kalloo said Petrotrin has promised to continue providing meals till tomorrow. However, he said residents were still not fully satisfied with Petrotrin’s responses, which he said were empty promises.

If Petrotrin does not address its issues soon, the residents will protest, he said.