This special edition of the weekly update spotlights human-induced environmental disasters in the Niger Delta with a focus on artisanal oil refining related fire outbreaks in Rivers State. According to data (see map below), artisanal oil refining related violence and fire outbreaks caused over 120 fatalities in the Niger Delta between January 2018 and October 2021. More than 55% of these fatalities reportedly occurred in Rivers State. Recent incidents also indicate the prevalence of artisanal oil refining related fire outbreaks in Rivers State. In October 2021, for instance, over 20 persons were reportedly killed in a fire outbreak allegedly caused by illegal artisanal oil refining activities, also known as ’Kpofire’ in Rumuekpe community, Emohua LGA. In November, more than 10 persons were reportedly killed and many boats destroyed by fire supposedly caused by illegal petroleum products at the Nembe/Bille/Bonny Jetty in Port Harcourt LGA. More recently, on December 02, 2021, several shops, vehicles and goods were reportedly destroyed by fire allegedly caused by artisanal oil refining activities in Elele town, Ikwerre LGA.
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