KARACHI: Contaminated water sends over 700 to hospitals: One succumbs, 350 admitted
KARACHI, September 17 2005: A child reportedly died and around 65 other men, women and children were admitted to different hospitals on Friday September 16 after consuming contaminated water in Landhi’s Awami Colony and Dawood Challi (UC-9).
It was the second such incident in the last three weeks, the first one having taken place on August 29 in Manno Goth of Ghulshan-i-Iqbal, where contaminated water had claimed lives of two persons who were among scores of people admitted to hospitals and clinics.
One Friday, at least 350 people reported to Sindh Government Hospital Korangi with complaints of abdomen pain, vomiting and diarrhoea, MS of the hospital Dr Tariq Ahsan told Dawn. He, however, stated that most of the patients had been discharged after being provided necessary treatment. He put the number of those still under treatment at the hospital at 70, saying that all were in a stable condition.
According to the caretaker of Landhi Town, Mohammad Nazeer Lakhani, one of the victims, one-year-old Shania, succumbed at the JPMC where she had been brought in a precarious condition.
EDO Khalid Sheikh and Dr Tariq Ahsan said that not a single person had died at Korangi hospital or medical camp. “No death has been reported at this hospital or the medical camp set up at the Awami Colony,” they asserted.
The EDO Health said that the medicines required for treatment of water-borne diseases had been provided to the Sindh Government Hospital Korangi in adequate quantity whereas more than 50 doctors had been made available to handle the situation on a rotation basis. In addition, five doctors have been deputed at the Awami Colony medical camp set up by the CDGK, according to him.
The TMO, Landhi, said that about 700 people had visited two medical camps set up at the Awami Colony by the town administration. Of them, 350 had been referred to the Sindh Government Hospital and about the same number of others discharged after being administered dextrose drips.
“Immediately after receiving reports of the spread of water-borne diseases in the locality, we not only disconnected the water supply line, but also declared emergency at hospitals to deal with the situation effectively,” he said.
The KWSB Chief Engineer (Water Distribution), Mr Asudomal told Dawn that the cause of water contamination in Awami Colony could be seepage of sewage into the four-inch-dia pipeline connected illegally with a 12-inch-dia pipeline meant for supplying water to the Korangi Industrial Area. He pointed out that the bigger water line also passed through a nullah and a manhole.
“The KWSB has started replacing water pipelines in Landhi’s UC-9 on war-footing soon after receiving complaints of water contamination,” he said, adding that as an alternative arrangement, hygienic water was being supplied to the affected area through tankers.
Meanwhile, Adviser to the Chief Minister on Local Government Waseem Akhtar, who visited the Korangi hospital to inquire about the health of the victims, has directed the KWSB to carry on the pipeline replacement work round-the-clock so that people did not face water shortage for a longer period.
Managing Director of the KWSB Brig Iftikhar Haider, who was accompanying Mr Akhtar informed the latter that the residents of this locality had sunk plastic pipes beneath the sewerage lines to fetch water from the main line which also passed through the storm-water drains. “When suction pumps are operated to pump the water into the underground tanks of the households with pressure, the sewage from sewerage lines mixes up with the potable water through the plastic pipes and ultimately makes its way into their tanks,” he explained.
Brig Haider said that KWSB, with the cooperation of the Sindh government, had prepared a programme under which water lines in katchi Abadis would be laid at ground level to avoid the seepage and mix-up risk. He said that the work on this project was being carried out on war-footing.
He identified the spots in the locality where illegal water connections were visible. He also showed the adviser the nullah and manhole through which the pipeline was passing.