Essiyan IDP camp near Dohuk in Ninewa Governorate, is temporary home to 2,740 Yezidi families or 14,806 individuals,
The challenges that the displaced people of camp like Essiyan include the release of hydrogen sulfide gas from nearby oil fields. The situation continues without letup, due to the constant presence of the poisonous gas hydrogen sulfide (H₂S) being released from the adjoining oil field and associated health risks.
Hydrogen sulfide (H₂S) is a highly toxic gas which kills in only a few minutes, The H₂S gas must be burnt off from a high place as seen in the above photo. If the burn-off goes out, H₂S gas buildup could kill everyone within a distance of several kilometers.
Recently there was a broken pipe within the oil field and the stench was everywhere. People were frightened and were seeking to cover their faces somehow. As they are living in tents, there is nowhere to avoid the gas. When this happens the people wear masks to be safe.
Hydrogen sulfide (H₂S) is a colorless gas with the characteristic odor of rotten eggs. It is highly toxic, corrosive, and flammable. Being heavier than air, it accumulates at the bottom of poorly ventilated spaces. Although very pungent at first, it quickly deadens the sense of smell, so victims may be unaware of its presence until it is too late.
Exposure to lower concentrations can result in eye irritation, a sore throat and cough, nausea, shortness of breath, and fluid in the lungs. Long-term, low-level exposure may result in fatigue, loss of appetite, headaches, irritability, poor memory, and dizziness. Short-term, high-level exposure can induce immediate collapse, with loss of breathing and a high probability of death.
The public health crisis among Yezidi at the Essiyan IDP camp will be presented in a meeting to representatives of the Iraqi Prime Minister on the 29th of April. UN agencies and non-governmental agencies responsible for the IDP camps are being requested to provide remedial health assistance on an urgent basis. Meanwhile, steps shall be taken to help facilitate the relocation of Yezidi individuals and families away from the environmental hazards associated with such oil installations.