Cancer epidemics are practically unheard of. That’s why I was quite shocked when I read about this small village in Germany where almost every household has been hit by the deadly disease. Wewelsfleth, located near the Elbe River in northwest Germany is now being called the ‘village of the damned’. With a population of only 1,500, the spread of cancer in the area is about 50% above average. What makes the condition of these villagers even more pathetic is that they feel abandoned by authorities, who are unable to provide any explanations.
The cancer situation in Wewelsfleth is not a new one. In fact, several cases have been reported as early as 1998, steadily rising over the years. The phenomenon is not limited to any particular part of the body. Cases of cancer affecting the breast, lung, womb, stomach and esophagus have been observed. It is not surprising in the least to note that there are three nuclear power plants in the vicinity and also a shipyard where vessels were sprayed with highly toxic paint. Quite understandably, the villagers are upset and do not intend to give up on their demands for a serious enquiry into the situation.
Photo via 14mail.de
Experts, however, remain confused over the cause of the strange spread of cancerous cells across the village. Academics at the University of Lubeck have investigated both the cancers as well as the nuclear plants and shipyard. They even took into account other factors such as the lifestyle of cancer victims and environmental conditions. The results of the study, are inconclusive. The academics point out that it has been impossible to point out any one of these as the sole cause.
Photo by jmueti
The Mayor of Wewelsfleth, Ingo Karstens, has lost both his wives to cancer. Calling it a curse, he has no intentions to back down. He is now insisting that health authorities in Berlin commission another study to get to the root of the affair. This truly does sound like a sad situation; I hope they find a cause and a cure soon enough.