Ajman: Toxic chemicals are suspected to have caused the water contamination that led to several residents falling ill at a cluster of towers in Ajman over the weekend, even as residents continued to fall ill on the fourth day on Sunday.
Ajman Police said 190 persons have sought treatment at various hospitals in Ajman and Sharjah so far.
On Saturday, Gulf News reported the incident after residents said they were suffering from vomiting and diarrhoea following the use of tap water in their bathrooms and kitchen.
They alleged that the water was smelling like sewage and had changed colour. Most of those who fell sick were children, the residents said.
Symptoms showed that all the cases suffered from poisoning but we can’t determine which kind of poisoning …. Only a laboratory test conducted by the authorities can determine that.
Engineer Humaid Al Mualla, Acting Director of the Health and Safety Department at the Municipality and Planning Department in Ajman, said officials received a call from a hospital in the emirate where patients complained of intestinal infections. Subsequently, the local Crisis and Emergency Management Team, headed by Major General Sultan Bin Abdullah Al Nuaimi, Commander-in-chief of Ajman Police, held an emergency meeting to discuss the details of the incident, identify the causes and address the matter.
He said people who had fallen ill were all living in one residential complex.
Barring seven people, the rest of the patients were discharged from the hospitals where they were treated. Those who were still in the hospital complained of high fever, but were expected to leave the hospital later in the day.
Teams from the Municipal and the Planning Department, who visited the building, suspected the water tanks to be contaminated, following which they took the water samples and sent it to laboratories to determine the cause of contamination. The results are expected later this week.
All the tanks have been emptied and will be cleaned and sterilised, before it is made fit for use again.
The water contamination is suspected to have been caused by toxic chemicals, health officials said but added that investigation is still underway.
190people have sought treatment in hospitals in the incident
Dr Khalid Khalfan Bin Sabt, paediatric surgery consultant and deputy technical director at Al Qasimi Hospital, told Gulf News that the hospital received three children from the same building in Ajman and all of them suffered from vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach pain. “All of them received necessary treatment and were discharged from hospital on the same day,” he said.
“Symptoms showed that all the cases suffered from poisoning but we can’t determine which kind of poisoning — food, water or chemical. Only a laboratory test conducted by the authorities can determine that,” he added.
Gulf News has learnt that the file of the incident has been referred to the Ajman Executive Council for further investigation and action.
Farzana Mazhoor, resident of the tower, said on Sunday that people were still falling ill on the fourth day. She said they were now forced to buy bottles of water which is proving to be expensive as there was no water in the building.