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UNDAC Mission

UNDAC Mission

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UNDAC Mission

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  1. UNDAC Mission Port of Djibouti Toxic chemical spill March 2002

  2. Djibouti • Country bordered by Eritrea,Ethiopia and Somalia. • Population is approx. 500,000 • The Port isthe economic centre ofthe country,and the most importantport inthe Horn of Africa

  3. The Incident • A chemical spill of chromated copper arsenate (CCA) from a total of fifteen sea containers representing 200 tonnes of product • CCA is a highly corrosive and toxic wood preservative / fungicide • 10 containers arrived in the port on 15 November and discovered leaking on 9 January • An additional five leaking containers arrived on 24 January

  4. Incident Details • Containers shipped from the UK destined for Ethiopia • Offloaded from a ship in the port of Djibouti for subsequent transport to Ethiopia by road • Initial efforts to secure the manage the leak resulted in the contamination of five separate sites in the port area • Fortunately, only small quantities of product were lost to the sea, causing negligible impacts

  5. Port Area

  6. Humanitarian Concerns -Public Health • As many as 500 claim to have been exposed to the product • There has been at least one death, though a direct link to chemical exposure has yet to be established • Concerns regarding contamination of foodstuffs and exposure of employees at WFP warehouse • Fear about drinking bottled water and Coca Cola from nearby facility

  7. Environmental Concerns • Five contaminated sites could result in groundwater contamination and impacts to marine environment • Chronic exposure to dust can cause longer term health and environmental impacts • Rains (which sometimes occur in early April) will severely widen the area of impact

  8. Steps Taken • An FAO expert was brought in to conduct an assessment in early February • Subsequent to the FAO report, the port authority implemented a number of recommendations

  9. Steps Taken As per FAO recommendations: • Evacuation of all equipment at site 5 (other than trucks and leaking containers) • Construction of a fence around site 5 • Installation of polyethylene sheeting covered with sand to cover leak and contain further leakage at sites 2, 3 and 5 • Construction of steel trays for leaking containers

  10. The UNDAC Mission • The mission was organized by OCHA with support from the Joint UNEP/OCHA Environmental Emergencies Section • The team was composed 2 OCHA Geneva, 1 UNEP staff member (from the Joint Unit) and 1 member from OCHA field office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia • The team was later joined by a Swiss ecotoxicology expert

  11. The Role of the Team • Assess humanitarian impacts from spill • Follow-up assessments of sites further to the implementation of the FAO expert’s recommendations • Overall coordination in the wake of the country’s appeal for international assistance • Recommendations on immediate response to the leaking containers and remediation of contaminated sites

  12. Assessment Process • Multiple visits to all five sites • Extensive interviews with the port management and staff • Meetings with Djiboutian national authorities • Coordination and cooperation with the UN country team

  13. Port of Djibouti

  14. Findings • The port had implemented virtually all FAO recommendations in order to secure the situation • Though contained, the product was still leaking heavily • In spite of efforts, there was still widespread panic within the community with respect to health risks.

  15. Findings • Djibouti did not have the technical expertise to manage the situation beyond what had been already undertaken • Consequently, the team requested the assistance of an ecotoxicologist / waste management specialist from Geneva to assist • Sites 1,2&5 - heavy contamination requiring immediate attention • Sites 3&4 - stable with some protective measures recommended

  16. Site 1 - Hazardous Cargo Container Area  Green stains show clear evidence of contamination from CCA at site 1 where containers were stored from 15 November to 9 January View of contaminated area from opposite end 

  17. Site 2 - Leaking container area Staining from CCA and contamination from other hazardous chemicals at site 2

  18. Site 2 - Leaking container area Application of sand to contaminated areas of site 2  Evidence of severe contamination from CCA 

  19. Site 5 - Isolation Zone Five trucks containing 10 leaking containers

  20. Site 5 - Isolation Zone Product creeping from under plastic sheeting several metres away from trucks  Close up of leaking product pooling under trucks 

  21. Site 5-Container in Steel Tray View of one container in a steel tray constructed by the port to contain the leaking product

  22. Conclusions • Djibouti has virtually no capacity to respond to hazardous materials occurrences • Port was very proactive in taking necessary actions to secure the situation. • Overall lack of prevention, preparedness and awareness • Weak disaster management capacity at local/national level

  23. Conclusions • Poor risk communications resulting in continued panic and rumors in the community • Several good contingency plans exist but were not activated

  24. Recommendations Immediate (as outlined in Action Plan) • Stop leaks at site 5 • Transfer product to new containers • Address contamination at sites 1,2 & 5 • Relocate and establish proper leaking hazardous cargo area - currently site 2 • Establish a destocking zone to accommodate contaminated waste & soil

  25. Recommendations Medium to Long Term • Decontamination of non-urgent sites • Contingency plans should be updated, disseminated and tested • Need for training and proper equipment for handling and responding to hazmat incidents • Develop a legal framework for handling and transportation of dangerous goods with Djibouti

  26. Recommendations • Update port procedures so that future leaks are addressed in situ (preventing contamination of multiples sites) • Routine inspection of hazardous cargo area at port for early identification of leaks

  27. Needs Covered • Protective equipment (Canton de Genève) • Antidotes for for arsenic poisoning (Hôpital Cantonal de Genève) • Construction of destocking zone for contaminated soil and waste (UNDP/OCHA)

  28. Needs Still to be Covered • Expert Hazmat team (with appropriate personal protective equipment) for transfer operations. • Overpack drums to accommodate leaking containers.