Contaminated water sickens nearly 500 in China

Contaminated water sickens nearly 500 in China
Fears over the safety of drinking water remain a problem for much of China. (File/AP)
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Updated 24 August 2020

Contaminated water sickens nearly 500 in China

Contaminated water sickens nearly 500 in China
  • Nearly 500 people in the rural town of Baoyi have developed fever and diarrhea since late last week
  • The town’s water supply has been shut down and nearly 300 people have been hospitalized

BEIJING: Hundreds of people in eastern China have been infected with bacteria which can cause dysentery after drinking contaminated water, state media said Monday, prompting the closure of a local water plant.
Nearly 500 people in the rural town of Baoyi — about 550 kilometers (342 miles) west of Shanghai — have developed fever and diarrhea since late last week.
A report by the local government published Sunday found they have been infected with the shigella bacteria — a genus of microbes that can cause dysentery.
The town’s water supply has been shut down and nearly 300 people have been hospitalized, county officials said.
Video footage posted on social media by the state-run People’s Daily on Monday showed patients sitting in rows of beds in a local hospital.
Many of the patients were elderly or children, according to the newspaper.
Fears over the safety of drinking water remain a problem for much of China — including its wealthiest cities, where many residents rely on bottled or boiled water.
China’s Ministry of Water Resources had improved water supply services for 256 million rural residents across the country by the end of July, the official Xinhua news agency said Friday.


Pygmies, soldier killed in clashes over DR Congo park

Updated 02 December 2020

Pygmies, soldier killed in clashes over DR Congo park

Pygmies, soldier killed in clashes over DR Congo park
  • In 2018, Pygmies began to move onto land inside the perimeter of Kahuzi-Biega National Park and started to cut down trees, mainly to make charcoal
  • According to park authorities, Pygmies have destroyed vast acres of woodland — an act of deforestation that gnaws away at the habitat of endangered gorillas

BUKAVU, DR Congo: Three Pygmies and a soldier were killed in clashes near DR Congo’s Kahuzi-Biega National Park, military sources and local officials said Wednesday, as calls grow for protection of the country’s indigenous peoples.
The national park, which celebrated its 50th anniversary on Monday, is a haven for critically endangered gorillas but faces an emerging threat from a conflict between rangers and local Pygmies, who claim they were robbed of ancestral lands when the park was extended in the 1970s.
The central African country’s parliament is currently considering a law to guarantee the rights of Pygmies.
Clashes erupted on Monday in the nearby village of Kabamba in South Kivu province, military sources and the territory’s administrator Thadee Miderho said Wednesday.
In addition to the four killed, others were wounded, they said.
The Pygmies wanted to retrieve bags of charcoal seized by the military, according to Miderho.
In 2018, Pygmies began to move onto land inside the park’s perimeter and started to cut down trees, mainly to make charcoal.
According to park authorities, Pygmies have destroyed vast acres of woodland — an act of deforestation that gnaws away at the gorillas’ habitat.
Their return led to open conflict between Pygmies and rangers in which people on both sides have been killed.
Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the park celebrated 50 years of existence on Monday, priding itself as “a sanctuary and refuge” of eastern lowland gorillas.
Meanwhile a civil society group in the territory of Kabare wrote an open letter to UNESCO asking for it to help “save” the Pygmies.
“Fifty years later, the existence of the Kahuzi-Biega National Park = 50 years of suffering of our Pygmies brothers and sisters,” the group wrote.
In the capital Kinshasa, the National Assembly passed a bill on November 26 for the “protection and promotion of the rights of the indigenous Pygmy peoples,” which will now be considered by the Senate.
“In the Democratic Republic of Congo, unlike other indigenous ethnic groups, the Pygmies have not always received special attention as an indigenous group,” parliament acknowledged in a memorandum.
The proposed law guarantees the recognition of the culture of the Pygmies, easy access to justice and social services, and “full access to the land.”