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GUSAU, Nigeria: Doctors are struggling to save children stricken by lead poisoning — many of them blind, deaf and unable to walk — after poor herdsmen began illegally mining gold in an area of northern Nigeria with high concentrations of lead.
More than 160 villagers have died and hundreds more have been sickened in the remote villages of Nigeria's Zamfara state, officials said Tuesday. The region is near the border with Niger, on the cusp of the Sahara Desert.
A spokeswoman for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the agency's initial tests found extremely high l
No fewer than 400 children have died of lead poisoning in northern part of the country, the Human Rights Watch has said. The areas affected include villages such as Abare, Dareta, Duza, Sunke, Tungar Daji, Tungar Guru and Yargalma in Zamfara State, with the mortality rate estimated as high as 40 per cent among children who showed symptoms of lead poisoning. The organisation said this at a news conference in Lagos on Tuesday, adding that thousands of children in northern states would need immediate medical treatment. According to HRW representative in Nigeria, Jane Cohen, dozens of villages in Zamfara State were contaminated since two years by lead, spreading epidemic across the community. While releasing the video on the issue, Cohen said 400 children had died, according to official estimates, yet environmental clean-up efforts had not even begun in numerous affected villages. Human Rights Watch said that Artisanal gold mines were found throughout Zamfara State, in north-western Nigeria, and high levels of lead in the earth and the use of rudimentary mining methods had resulted in an epidemic of lead poisoning among children. Research by Human Rights Watch also showed that children were exposed to this lead dust when they processed ore in the mines, when their miner relatives returned home covered with lead dust, and when the lead-filled ore is manually or mechanically crushed at home.