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Eighty taken ill by suspected water poisoning in M’kiri

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Sick villagers are treated for water poisoning at Kratie Provincial Hospital earlier this week. Photo supplied

Eighty taken ill by suspected water poisoning in M’kiri

At least 80 people in Preh and Roneg villages in Mondulkiri province’s Sre Chhouk commune suffered vomiting, dizziness and weakness due to suspected poisonous water from a stream they were using.

The illnesses come after 13 people died and more than 130 people sent to hospital due to drinking water contaminated with poisonous substances in Kratie over the past few weeks.

Lor Sokha, Mondulkiri province police chief, told the media that technical officers initially suspected the poisoning occurred after villagers drank water from Preah river and others drank rain water which had combined with water from the river. However, the cause has not yet been determined as authorities are waiting for the results of an analysis of the water and food they had consumed.

He added that after the outbreak, the victims were sent to be treated at private clinics as well as the referral hospital in Kratie province’s Snuol district, as they were closer than the Mondulkiri provincial hospital.

Sokha emphasised that “with regard to this poison, the people began to fall ill at 9am on Wednesday, with more becoming sick until 7am the following day. As of now, 19 victims have got better and returned home. The number of victims in total was 80 people.”

Bun Suor, director of the Mondulkiri Provincial Department of Health, said he could not comment on the case as he and his doctors were too busy treating the victims.

He said on Wednesday that he spoke to the victims and they said they began to find it difficult to breathe, had stomachaches and vomited after drinking both the water from the river and rainwater from the roofs of their houses.

“However, we cannot make any conclusions yet as the water and other things have been sent to the laboratory, and we are awaiting the results,” Suor said.

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