In Palafitos de Santa Rosa there is an “epidemic” of diseases, residents warn

Carolina Leal, leader of the Los Palafitos de Santa Rosa community, in Zulia state, said that due to the contamination that exists in the area, children have become ill with vomiting and diarrhea, as well as skin diseases. She estimated that half of the minors in the area have presented symptoms

Author: Graciela de los Angeles Portillo | Radio Faith and joy

The Los Palafitos de Santa Rosa de Agua sector is a renowned tourist spot in Maracaibo, especially for its view of the lake and its gastronomy, but the current environment in which it is located is depressing. The waters of Lake Maracaibo appear contaminated by oil spills and an extensive green layer produced by a proliferation of microalgae, which has caused a fetid odor, as well as a kind of “epidemic” of gastric diseases.

Carolina Leal, community leader, told Radio Fe y Alegría News that the children have become ill both from vomiting and diarrhea, and from skin diseases. He even estimated that half of the minors in the area have presented symptoms.

*Read also: Bachaquero and San Francisco del Zulia municipalities cause more oil spills in the Lake

“This contamination has affected us because the government has turned a blind eye,” he said.

Leal explained that the boys and girls who managed to recover from a state of severe malnutrition, through the Alimentando Sueños Foundation, which they lead in the community, have now practically returned to their initial state due to these diseases. She also explained that people do not go with their children to hospitals because they do not have resources.

For her part, Anabel Camejo, mothers of four children, reaffirmed that the situation they are currently experiencing is very unpleasant. Her husband, who lives from fishing, has had to divide the income that he receives in part for food and another part to cover the costs of medicines that are quite high.

Josefina Parra, a resident of Los Palafitos, assured that the smell that comes from the lake “does not make you want to eat and causes something strong in the stomach.” She remembered that before the water was clear, unlike now that you can’t even enjoy the view of the lake on its shores.

He said that it is important that the cleaning days be resumed. In his opinion, “it’s not just cleaning up a bit,” because previously the authorities “brought in a crew, cleaned up a bit, and that’s it.”

Los Palafitos fishermen affected

Herwin Delgado, who has been fishing in Santa Rosa de Agua for 54 years, commented that they live with a bad smell, the boats and the nets are impregnated with oil. “There is no conscience, there is no one to do anything,” he said.

He explained that fishing has decreased considerably compared to previous years when they managed to catch 60,000 kilos, while now they barely fish between 10 and 15 kilos, which are also fish that can be contaminated by oil spills.

The director of the organization Azul Ambientalista, Yohan Flores, told Radio Fe y Alegría News that Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) published the deployment of a crew made up of five people who are cleaning the shores of the lake, specifically Vereda II.

However, Flores stated that a single crew is not enough to clean up the oil that has spread throughout Lake Maracaibo.

«With a single crew of five people we will not be able to clean Lake Maracaibo. It is necessary to attend to the affected municipalities of the Eastern Coast of the Lake, San Francisco, Mara and Maracaibo », he insisted.

The environmental activist said that it is also necessary to have boats and technological equipment to clean up the lake. In addition, he suggested to the competent authorities that those transnational companies that are going to reach the lake can also participate in the cleaning and decontamination of the lake.

“There must be the will of the national government, private companies and citizens,” he said.

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