Interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi, along with Minister of Health Maha Al-Rabat, Minister of Housing Ibrahim Mahlab, and Governor of Sharqiya Saeed Abdel Aziz, has continued following up on developments surrounding the poisoning cases in the village of Al-Zahraa.
The suspected cases of poisoning were thought to have come from drinking water in the village, located in the district of Zagazig.
El-Beblawi stressed the need to provide “all forms of medical care needed to treat the infected cases,” according to a statement issued by the cabinet on Sunday. He also called on the ministers of health and housing to dispatch a team of experts to the village to examine samples of drinking water and provide speedy results in order to find the source of the problem “and take immediate action to address the causes.”
Attorney-General of Sharqiya Ahmed Daabis opened an investigation on Saturday and his office began collecting testimonies of patients at hospitals, after which water samples were taken for analysis.
The Governor of Sharqiya said that there were plans to build a water treatment plant in the village that would cost an estimated EGP 60m, a project that would be supported by the European Union and the World Bank, according to state-owned Al-Ahram. The project is set to commence “in the coming weeks” according to the governor.
Abdel Aziz added that the cause of the water contamination was the poor condition of water pipes and sewage network, causing a mix between the water the residents drank and the sewage, a problem that had surfaced before in the village.
Al-Rabat sent four teams from the health ministry’s preventive sector to conduct infection control and environmental surveillance of the conditions in Al-Zahraa and to closely monitor cases that might occur.
On Saturday state-owned Al-Ahram reported that 58 residents had been affected by the contaminated drinking water, including four children.