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More than 120 poisoned

MORE than 120 villagers have now been poisoned after drinking water contaminated with herbicides which flowed into a fresh water creek in Kampot, a doctor said yesterday.

Nob Neb, chief of the disease and emergency building at Chhouk district referral hospital said yesterday another 37 villagers from Trapaing Phlaing commune had been admitted, with symptoms of diarrhoea, vomiting and dizziness.

Around 90 patients were admitted on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

“Their [condition] is not serious. They just got tired and dizzy”, Nob Neb said. “We have given them medicine tablets and injections”.

He said 70 of the 90 patients originally admitted to the hospital had already recovered and returned home.

Nob Synoun, deputy police chief of Chhouk district, said yesterday that local authorities’ first priority was to make sure people recovered before they sought out the culprit of the poisonings.  

On Wednesday, officials reported that So Nguon Company had sprayed toxic herbicides to kill bamboo and long grasses at a farm adjacent to a creek which villages had long used for drinking water.

Heavy rains followed, officials said, allegedly washing the chemicals into the villagers’ water supply.

“We can’t take action with those responsible for this problem because we have no complaint from people,” Nob Synoun said yesterday. “Now we need to save people first. We will solve this problem later, following the law.”

So Nguon Company could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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