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MYSTERIOUS-Disease kills over 90 people in Fangak

By Deng Ghai Deng

Authorities in Jonglei State have confirmed that more than 90 people have die by mysterious disease suspected to be watery diarrhea while livestock are also dying in large numbers whichis worrying the area residents.

The cases occurs after showing signs and symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting and general body weakness.

Over the weekend, the NationalMinistry of Health through Dr. John Rumunuthe Director-General for Preventive Health Services and Acting Covid-19 Incident Manager promised to send response team this week to Fangak to ascertain the situation while at the same time reported that 13 people including eleven children had died of watery diarrhea. The Ministry further revealed that about 89 were reported dead last month alone.

Brotus Biel, the Commissioner of Fangak County confirmed that dozens of people mostly children and the elderly had died after having complained of diarrhea, vomiting, heart pain and general body weakness since early last month.

 “There is sudden death and it started on the 2nd of October within the new Fangak town which is the headquarters of the county and within the surrounding villages of Fangak County. So far we have lost 90 people and we are wondering whether it is the impact of an oil explosion or something else.” Biel said

Doctor Gorge WaniWori, who is the World Health Organization Coordinator in Jonglei State, the WHO visited the area recently and had forwarded its findings to Juba.

“We are aware about it; the Ministry at the Juba level is supposed to issue a statement. I cannot really comment on it at this point. WHO has gone there and we will still be sending people but I cannot really comment on anything that will be useful to you right now.” Wori said

TuongMajok, the acting governor of Jonglei state said he was  aware of the matter adding that his office was engaging the WHO to intervene.

“A team of WHO, UNMISS and other agencies plus myself went to the location where the outbreak took place. It came to the surface of the water like oil and that’s why people are saying it is oil. We have reported this to the national government; the state has no experts. We reported it to the ministry of petroleum and the ministry of environment so that they can go to the location and see with their own eyes the cause of this eruption .” Majok said

When contacted for comment, about the deaths and symptom reported in Fangak, Doctor Victoria AnibMajur, the spokesperson for the national health ministry, said she heard about it but the ministry was yet to receive official communication from local leaders in Fangak.

Majok had earlier said that there was a need for an urgent investigation to avert a catastrophe. ASCOM, an oil and gas firm from Moldova was operating in the area but left after the 2013 conflict. Majok said an environmental impact assessment had not been conducted in the area since the petroleum firm stopped operations following the conflict.

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