It’s been a week since news of an illegal chemical waste dumping along the Kim Kim River in Johor where it caused a large number of school children and adults to fall sick surfaced. Now, as clean up efforts are underway, more Malaysians are still falling sick, as numbers appear to be continuously rising. The latest number of people reported ill is now 2,775 as of Thursday (14th March).
According to The Star, Johor Health, Environment and Agriculture Committee chairman Dr Sahruddin Jamal stated that as of 12pm on Thursday (14th March), there was a total of 1,906 cases reported in Pasir Gudang. Meanwhile, 869 more cases were reported in hospitals and clinics in Johor Bahru, resulting in an overall total of 2,775 cases in Johor Bahru and Pasir Gudang.
The 869 victims reportedly went to clinics and hospitals in Johor Bahru without referring to the medical bases in Pasir Gudang.
On top of that, while all 111 schools in the district were ordered to close, kindergartens and preschools in Pasir Gudang, Tebrau and Tenggara have also been ordered shut.
Earlier on Thursday, the Dewan Rakyat reportedly approved the motion to declare a state of emergency in Pasir Gudang. However, according to Channel NewsAsia, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad stated that there was no need to declare a state of emergency after visiting the area. He told reporters,
“No… it has not reached that stage (where an emergency has to be declared). There is no need for any evacuation, but we must be careful.”
“Those mobilised to contain the situation must also be prepared to handle the problem. We cannot say the worst is over.”
“On the other hand, we don’t think it is going to be more serious than now. But what is important is that they know how to handle this problem.”
Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail also stated that the government is currently gauging the seriousness of the situation before coming to a decision on whether or not to declare a state of emergency. She was quoted as saying,
“We will have a meeting first for us to consider the options because we have other measures (besides the declaration of emergency) that can address the problem.”
Meanwhile, it was announced by the National Disaster Management Agency that roughly 2.4 tonnes of chemical waste mixed with soil was removed from the site, while samples have already been sent to the Johor Department of Chemistry for analysis.
Let’s hope that these victims make a complete recovery and that the relevant authorities find a way to control this situation. Meanwhile, stay updated on the latest news regarding Pasir Gudang by reading the timeline of events linked below!
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