The death toll of the villagers in Kratie province who died from drinking contaminated water rose to 10 while 121 others were hospitalized, officials said.
Va Thorn, Kratie provincial governor, said that so far 10 people died, four of whom were men and other 121 people, including children received medical treatment in the provincial hospital and about 8 of them who were seriously ill were admitted to Calmette hospital in Phnom Penh.
“I have just came back from the scene and we sent health officials and armed forces to the place and help our people in the villages where many people became sick and died,” Mr Thorn said.
He said that he also ordered officials to provide clean water to the villagers.
The poisoning occurred on Thursday in two villages–Sre Norn and Anloy in Chet Borey district’s Kantuot commune where villagers complained of nausea, exhaustion and dizziness.
“We banned them from using the water from a canal in the village that we first suspected that the water was contaminated with herbicide farmers used to kill grass in their rice fields and it flowed into the canal when it was raining,” he said, adding that the villagers in the two villages used the water in the canal for years, but they never faced such poisoning.
“We are waiting for the result from the laboratory in Phnom Penh since our health officials sent the sample to be tested,” Mr Thorn said.
“We prevented them from using the water in the canal for a while and we will build ponds for them,” he said.
Mr Thorn said that the symptoms included difficulty to breathe, exhaustion and sore throat.
Chhneang Sovutha, director of Kratie provincial health department, declined to comment because he was busy visiting the villagers.