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The National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) says 16 persons have been hospitalized and 100 others relocated from Chicken Soup Factory Community along the Somali Drive following an incident of undiluted chlorine pollution in the area Wednesday morning, 14 November.

Addressing a press briefing at the Ministry of Information Thursday, 15 November, NPHIL Deputy Director General for Administration Mr. Henry A. Blake said one of the 16 persons that were hospitalized is critical because she has a swollen foot and was unable to run during the pollution of the undiluted chlorine in the community.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says concentrated chlorine gas leaked out of a tank, causing the pollution.But the NPHIL and the EPA are calling on residents of Chicken Soup Factory to be calm as the situation is under control.

The NPHIL’s Blake says the incident occurred at 3:30 AM on Wednesday, reporting that nobody died from the incident.According to Blake, 15 persons were taken to the Barbara – Ann Memorial Health Center in Gardnerville while the other lady that was critically ill was rushed to Redemption Hospital in New Kru Town, Bushrod Island.

The EPA’s Rafael Nyumba says they arrived on the scene at 8:20AM upon hearing of the incident, nearly five hours following the pollution.According to Mr. Nyumba, concentrated chlorine gas leaked out of a tank, adding that the undiluted chlorine was found in the compound of a scrap company named North Star that is situated in the Zinc Camp Community.

Mr. Nyumba says many people including women and children were seen fleeing their homes and holding their noses to avoid the polluted odor of the chlorine.He says the teams from the EPA, NPHIL the Liberia National Police (LNP) and nurses from the Ministry of Health were able to relocate the container from the affected area to Disco Hill Community in Margibi County.

Meanwhile Mr. Nyumba says residents of the Disco Hill Community too were afraid that they could be affected in similar manner as those in Chicken Soup Factory in Montserrado County.However, he says the responding team has assured residents of Disco Hill that the container is now safe.

Meanwhile, Mr. Nyumba says the EPA will be sending its team to the affected area to test all the wells there to know if any of it got affected.He notes that if there is a problem with any well, it will be handled.

By Lewis S. Teh–Edited by Winston W. Parley

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