“Shafa Hospital” is the only specialized cancer treatment center in Ahwaz capital,
which its last stop for people who have severe environmental pollution to treat them out. Almost all children and 90 percent of adults who need cancer treatment are referring to “Shafa” Hospital.
“Yasamin”, “Morteza”, “Maryam”, Atefeh”….
Just from the ring earrings you can understand that she is female. All her hair has been dropped, pale and effete sitting on her bed in hospital. “Yasamin” is only five years.
Her mom says: “We are living in in Ahwaz. We have been informed that “Yasamin” has been diagnosed with leukemia since a few months ago. She should be treated by Chemotherapy. They say treatment may take many years. I am afraid that we cannot provide the tremendous costs of treatment.”
“Yasamin” is just a sample of hundreds of Ahwazi Arabs that are encountering with same story, like Hassan from Almohamerah (Khorramshar), Atefeh from Susa, Morteza from Aabadan and Maryam from Alkhafajiyeh (Susangerd) each of them with their mothers residing for some time in pediatric department of Shafa hospital.
500 percent increase
“Shafa” is the display panel in growing trend of cancer, where Shafa hospital Ex-chief warns the sudden increase in the number of cancer patients and its association with air pollution in Al-Ahwaz.
Kaveh Jaseb children blood and cancer specialist says: “cancer statistics show that the new hospital referral for cancer from 1996 to 2012 has been increased so that the number of new clients from 223 in 1996 increased to 998 in 2012, while the population of the Khuzestan (part of Al-Ahwaz) province has a maximum of 25 percent growth. The number of days with dust events occurred from 2001 to 2012 (Since the installation of air pollution measurement devices) shows the Increase of 800 percent in air pollution in Al-Ahwaz. Therefore there is direct and rational relationship between the occurrences of dust events and increasing number of cancer patient. Finally I must say that the number of new cancer cases in the Ahwaz region are massive and dangerous.”
Outdoor air pollution a leading environmental cause of cancer deaths
In the report that was officially published on 17 October 2013 by International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) says that the air pollution and its involved suspended particles are in the first place of carcinogens. (1)
At the same time, World Health Organization (WHO), for the second time declared that the Ahwaz is the most polluted city in the world. (2)
50 times more than standard
The occurrence of dust event comes to Ahwaz, Aabadan, Falahiya and in all Al-Ahwaz cities since 2000-01. According to the report from Khuzestan (part of Al-Ahwaz) Department of Environment shows that the pollution levels exceeds up to 50 time of standard level and continues to occur three to 10 days. Ahwazi Arab people are facing about half of the year with dust occurrence and it’s registered an average twice in each 15 days. In new estimates released, WHO reports that in 2012 around 7 million people in the world were died – one in eight of total global deaths – as a result of air pollution exposure. (3)
“Cancer Tsunami” is on its way to Al-Ahwaz
Air pollution in Al-Ahwaz every time comes to the top story of the media, once by raided suspend particles in air, or leading the list of most polluted cities in the world and more recently because of shortness of breath of 20 thousands of Ahwazi Arab people, But after a while everything will be forgotten.
Iranian authorities by stopping the solutions of air pollution and in the absence of scientific studies on the side effects of pollution on Ahwazi Arab people, do we wait up to a few more years for “cancer tsunami”?
Ahwazi Centre for Human Rights
21 November 2014