Sick Ajman tenants 'didn't drink tap water'

 

Tenants of the tower said that over the weekend, they started smelling foul odour as if their tap water “was coming from the sewage”.- Supplied photo
Tenants of the tower said that over the weekend, they started smelling foul odour as if their tap water "was coming from the sewage".- Supplied photo

Ajman - Tenants who couldn't afford treatment or didn't have health insurance coverage have been offered free medical services.

by

Afkar Ali Ahmed

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Published: Sun 9 Jun 2019, 9:00 PM

Last updated: Sun 9 Jun 2019, 11:36 PM

Ajman residents who fell sick due to the suspected water contamination in their building have said they didn't drink their tap water - and yet at least 191 of them were rushed to hospitals over the weekend.
These tenants of Horizon Towers, including families, children and seniors, all showed similar "poisoning symptoms" that were suspected to have been caused by "water contamination", according to Ajman Medical Zone (AMZ).
Eight of them have been admitted to ICUs upon their arrival due to severe dehydration, but their conditions have stabilised and they are expected to be discharged today. Most cases were considered minor and several patients got discharged on the same day. No death has been reported.
Prateek Talukdar, whose entire family had been hospitalised, said they just used the water for washing dishes and cleaning, among other purposes.
"We never drank it," he said. His wife, six-year-old twins, and a seven-month-old son all got sick.
When they got discharged on Sunday, Talukdar thought the worst was over - but then he found out that all the guests he had hosted in their home over the Eid break also fell ill.
"I am now checking on them, asking how they are. Some of them were taken to hospitals," he said.
Looking back on the gathering he organised, Talukdar didn't think his guests drank their tap water. "It could be because of the glasses that we used to serve juice. These glasses were washed in the sink, using the water from the faucet," he said.
Tenants of the tower said that over the weekend, they started smelling foul odour as if their tap water "was coming from the sewage". And all of a sudden, the "water from their faucets turned yellow". 
They suspected that sewage leaked into the water tank of  their building. However, this is yet to be  confirmed. Officials of the Ajman Municipality said water samples have been collected for testing, and results are expected to be released in a week.
Several residents of the four-block tower were rushed to different hospitals, showing similar symptoms, such as vomiting, fever and diarrhoea. They said they used their tap water mainly for bathing, washing dishes and utensils, and brushing their teeth.
Sajeesh, another tenant, said he, his wife and two-year-old kid Laksha all got sick at the same time.
"My daughter swallowed the water while brushing her teeth, so her condition got worse rapidly and we had to rush her to Thumbay Hospital," he said. The girl had to stay at the hospital for two days. The couple, on the other hand, had been affected due to the stench, Sajeesh said.
Tenants who couldn't afford treatment or didn't have health insurance coverage have been offered free medical services at the Khalifa Hospital, according to the AMZ.

What authorities are saying

AJMAN Municipality
Officials of the Ajman Municipality have taken water samples from the building for testing, as part of the investigation that has been launched. They also ordered the Horizon Towers' management to clean and sanitise their water tanks, under the supervision of the health department.
Ajman Medical Zone
Hamad Triam Al Shamsi, director of Ajman Medical Zone (AMZ), said they received reports from various private hospitals, saying that at least 191 Horizon Tower tenants showed symptoms of poisoning, such as vomiting, fever and diarrhoea.
The AMZ has been doing their rounds at the hospitals to investigate the cases and ensure all patients are provided with treatment.
Doctors
Dr Isam Suliman, director of medical affairs at Thumbay Hospital, said they received a total of 75 patients from the building, including five who are still at the ICU. He said the patients who were "seriously affected" were children between two and seven years old. The rest of the patients were discharged on the same day. Blood samples were collected to accurately diagnose the cases. The hospital also notified the authorities immediately.
Police
The Ajman Police said they were waiting for the tenants to file official complaints, which must be supported by medical reports. Upon receiving the water test results, officers at Al Madina Police Station shall begin their investigation.
Two-day Water supply  'Crisis'
Tenants of Horizon Towers have been without water for more than 48 hours due to the suspected water contamination.  Their water supply was cut off as the building's management was ordered by the Ajman
Municipality to clean up the water tanks. 
Some chose to move to hotels until the issue is resolved. Those who decided to stay in the building had been buying water from groceries for their daily needs.    
Residents said they had been advised that the water supply would be restored by 10:00am on Monday, June 10.
afkarali@khaleejtimes.com



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