Published: Sat, March 16, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Malaysia shuts 111 schools as poisonings become "more critical"

Malaysia shuts 111 schools as poisonings become

At the moment, there are no deaths but 506 people are victims of methane poisoning.

According to investigators' initial reports, a truck is believed to have dumped toxic waste in southern Johor state last week, releasing risky fumes over a large area and causing widespread poisoning symptoms such as nausea and vomiting among the population.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad said up till yesterday there were 1,171 outpatient cases, 13 intensive care unit (ICU) cases and 384 normal warded cases due to chemical poisoning.

It was unclear what type of poisonous gas had been emitted near the industrial town of Pasir Gudang.

The suspects are reported to face five years jail time for breaking environmental protection laws. Earlier, more than 1,000 people, mostly school students, were evacuated to safe sites after authorities received an urgent phone call reporting a unusual smell that the caller thought to be chemicals around the two schools in Pasir Gudang.

Education Minister Maszlee Malik on Thursday ordered schools within a 3km radius of Kim Kim River in the city of Johor Bahru, on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, to be shut immediately. The next day 260 people were rushed to the hospital.

"Those who are on duty to control and safeguard the situation also need to be prepared for any eventuality", he said, adding that the people should have faith in the government in handling the situation.

Early this week, Malaysian authorities seized three suspects disposing toxic chemicals into the river, one of them will be taken to the court soon.

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