Ivory Coast campaigners win compensation from oil trading giant

By staff writers
September 20, 2009

A campaign in the Ivory Coast has led to the multinational oil trader Trafigura agreeing to pay compensation to people made ill by waste dumped by the company. They announced today (20 September) that 30,000 people would each receive the equivalent of £950.

The compensation was welcomed by a number of victims, but others suggested that it was insufficient.

"The cost of medication spent over three years goes much beyond that amount," said Ouattara Aboubabacar of the Toxic Waste Victims' Association.

The agreement follows a United Nations report last week, which linked 15 deaths to Trafigura's dumping.

Trafigura claimed there was a “lack of balance” in the report and insisted that that there was no proof that the waste had caused any deaths. However, they have now accepted that it may have led to “flu-like symptoms”.

Tens of thousands of people reported problems such as breathing difficulties, sickness and diarrhoea after truckloads of waste were dumped around Abidjan, Ivory Coast's largest city, in August 2006.

Trafigura say that the dumping of waste was carried out by a subcontractor. They have attracted derision for their claim that this means they are not responsible.

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