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Red Cross aids poisoning victims

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times Share:
A villager smiles after receiving supplies from CRC. Fresh News

The Cambodian Red Cross yesterday dispersed supplies to hundreds of Kratie province villagers who were discharged from hospital after they recovered from poisoning that left 13 dead.

Local authorities said that Uy Sam Ath, director of the disaster management department with the Cambodian Red Cross, provided rice, scarves and canned goods to 376 villagers from two Chetr Borei district communes who went through the traumatizing ordeal.

Chneang Sovutha, director of the provincial health department, said yesterday that CRC representatives provided rice, canned goods, noodles, and other non-perishables items to nearly 400 villagers.

On Monday, Mr Sovutha said that villagers had recovered and were allowed to return home.

Phat Chhum, Sre Non village chief in Kantuot commune, said that 205 of his villagers received the supplies from CRC.

Mr Chhum said that high-level officials must speed up the digging of wells for villagers because water is vital for their everyday use.

“Some villagers need water for other day to day activities such as taking a bath,” he said.

Mr Chhum said that families of the 13 victims who died in the incident received about $500 dollars each and four bags of rice from CRC.

A villager receiving aid after hospital release. Fresh News

Sarann Dy, Arloch village chief, said that 118 of his villagers received goods from CRC.

He said that another person died on Saturday after the victim was suspected of consuming tainted rice wine.

“He wasn’t admitted to hospital like everyone else but now he’s somehow affected,” he said. “The authority appealed to all villagers not to drink any more of the wine, I don’t know where he got the rice wine from.”

When asked about the man who died and whether or not it was because of the same poisonings, Mr Sovutha said that the 60-year-old man died from natural causes.

“He died from a disease, not because of the water poisoning in Prek Ter stream,” he said.​ Last week, lab tests results of stream water showed that samples contained high levels of chemicals from the use of pesticides.

The Ministry of Industry and Handicrafts had already issued its own statement last week saying that lab tests showed the rice wine had a methanol level of 11.22 percent, way above the maximum allowable level of 0.15 percent.

The ministry added that the stream water had a chromium level of 173 micrograms per litre, while the maximum allowable level is just 50 micrograms per litre.

The water also had a nitrate level from seven to 23 milligrams per litre, while the maximum allowable level is just three milligrams per litre.

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