Tracing carcinogen at Thach Khe iron mine

 VietNamNet Bridge - After VietNamNet published stories about the people around the Thach Khe iron mine (Thach Ha district, Ha Tinh province,) who are living in panic, because there are so many people dying of cancer, the authorities have collected water samples for testing.

Raging cancer and abnormal numbers
Cancers, the obsession at an iron mine


There were many deaths of cancer in the communes around the Thach Khe
 iron mine, especially in the past 5 years.



Alarmingly

On October 9, Deputy Director of the Center for Preventive Medicine of Thach Ha district, Mr. Le Huu Luu told VietNamNet that the number of people dying from cancer in the communes of Thach Hai, Thach Khe, Thach Dinh and Thach Ban (near the iron mine) is alarmingly high.

Director of the Center for Preventive Medicine of Ha Tinh province, Mr. Nguyen Luong Tam, said, after VietNamNet published the information in the morning of October 9, the center sent its employees to three villages in Thach Hai commune to take three water samples for testing.

"There is no conclusion yet, but we will work expeditiously to release the conclusion as soon as possible," said Tam.

There were many deaths of cancer in the communes around the Thach Khe iron mine, especially in the past 5 years.

Mr. Tam said that it is very difficult to find out the cause of cancer, because there are so many factors that can make cancer. Therefore, it requires a lot of agencies and departments to work together.

Vice Chairman of Thach Ha district, Mr. Nguyen Quoc Huong, said that the district government has never received any report of the communes around the Thach Khe iron mine on the number of people who died of cancer, or propose water test so the district government did not take water samples for testing.

At the meetings between constituents of Thach Hai commune with National Assembly deputies in mid-2012, people expressed their worry about the disease, the district had reported to the provincial authorities, but so far the district has not received any answer, Mr. Huong said.

Huong added that right after VietNamNet posted the stories about cancer around Thach Khe iron mine, the district government had assigned the District Preventive Health Centre to make an urgent survey to report to the district.

The district would assign relevant authorities to check, find out the cause and provide solutions.

Huong also thanked VietNamNet’s information which helped the districts have a timely guidance.

Backlash of the iron mine’s officials

Immediately after VietNamNet published articles on the growing number of deaths by cancer in the areas around the Thach Khe iron mine, Mr. Nguyen Xuan Sinh, Director of the Thach Khe Iron Joint Stock Company (Ha Tinh) called to complain about the articles with a VietNamNet’s reporter.

Although, the reporter explained that the articles did not say that the people dying of cancer due to the effects of iron mining. The stories did not mention his company or any individual but Sinh was still angry.

In these articles, VietNamNet only raised worry over the alarming phenomenon.

In addition to the opinions of local people (who have suffered a lot from the iron mine in the last six years), the reporter also interviewed local officials and collected statistics from local health stations.

VietNamNet as well as the local people and the local authorities expect that the phenomenon to be checked by relevant bodies.

Sinh was appointed as the director of the Thach Khe Iron Joint Stock Company by the Vietnam National Coal Mineral Group (Vinacomin) in May 2012.

Shortly after VietNamNet published the series related to the unexpected deaths of cancer of people living around the Thach Khe iron mine, on October 9, the Ministry of Health sent a written dispatch to the Health Environmental Management Department, asking this agency to coordinate with relevant agencies to check the information and propose solutions.

The Ministry asked the agency to send a report back to the Ministry before October 13, 2012.

VietNamNet
 
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