KARACHI: Forty-one people, including 24 children and six women living in the slum settlements in Landhi and Korangi, were hospitalised with abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea on Monday, after allegedly consuming the contaminated water that was supplied to their areas. However, no death was reported till the filing of this report.
The residents of Kashmir Colony, Bengali Para and Sherpao Colony claimed that many people fell sick after consuming the water that is supplied to their areas at 11am every day.
Several officials of the Sindh Health Department rushed to the affected colonies after the news broke out, and shifted 41 patients to different hospitals. Landhi Town Health Officer Dr Khalid Ghauri said 30 patients were taken to the Sindh Government Hospital Korangi and 11 to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre.
“Most of them have been discharged after treatment and the remaining ones are also in a stable condition now,” said Dr Ghauri.
Citing the reason behind the incident, he said since most of these colonies were slum settlements with no proper system of water supply and sanitation, the residents acquire illegal water supply connections that pass from sewerage lines, and such incidents occur when drinking water becomes tainted with sewage.
In Karachi, people living in slum settlements usually fall victim to the faulty sewerage and water supply systems, especially when sewage seeps into the drinking water supply pipes.
The National Conservation Strategy states that almost 40 percent of the total deaths in Pakistan were related to waterborne diseases.
The World Health Organisation also reports that 32 percent of hospital beds in Pakistan were occupied with patients suffering from waterborne diseases and around 60 percent of total infant deaths in the country were caused by water infections. Another recent study states that in urban centres of the country, around 2 million wet tonnes of human excreta was produced annually, of which around 50 percent are dumped into rivers and sea.
Some experts are also of the view that besides sewage, industrial waste also seeps into the drinking water supply pipes in Landhi and Korangi, causing diseases among the residents.