Villagers in Ethiopia are dropping dead from a mystery illness that causes them to bleed from their mouths and nose.
It’s not clear where the illness came from or what causes it, but some have blamed it on toxic waste coming from a Chinese oil project in the country’s east, the Guardian reports.
Symptoms of the unidentified sickness include swelling and yellowing of infected patients’ skin and eyes.
The sickness is being spread between villages in the country’s Somali region, where a Chinese natural gas project is set up.
Khadar Abdi Abdullahi, 23, who had lived in a village in the region, was suspicious the water supply had been contaminated by chemical waste.
“It is the toxins that flow in the rainfall from Calub [gas field] that are responsible for this epidemic,” he said.
Abdullahi was one of many who contracted the illness.
He was discharged from hospital after being told doctors couldn’t do anything more to help him. He later died.
A former engineer at the company alleges there were regular chemical spillages from the drilling, including sulphuric acid, which can lead to liver failure.
Authorities in Addis Ababa denied claims there was an environmental and health crisis in the region, known as the Ogaden basin.
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