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15 December 2006 | Printer friendly

The orphans of Sumqayit

This is the title of the article that has been recently published by Nigel Green in the BBC news. He tells us the sad story of the seaside town, called Sumqayit in Azerbaijan which used to be once the biggest petro-chemical centre in the Soviet Union (to feed off the huge oil reserves nearby). Today it “looks like the backdrop for a science movie”.

Substances were produced here which included huge quantities of lindane, a kind of pesticides which is blamed for causing birth defects.

Though the factories have been closed down by the government of Azerbaijan and Sumqayit has been declared an ecological disaster zone, the city has to cope with the severe consequences of the past. There is a large orphanage house which used to be the home of 400 children and now there are about 160 children. Most of them are handicapped.

Sumqayit has a high number of girls and boys with Downs syndrome and other diseases. There is also a high level of deformities in new-born children (twisted limbs, distorted faces). Local inhabitants believe that that the disabilities had been caused by the pollution.

To read the whole article

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