WFP deploy team to probe Khagrhachhari outbreak
Tue, Jun 2nd, 2009 9:02 pm BdST
Khagrhachharhi, June 2 (bdnews24.com)—The World Food Programme has deployed a team of experts to investigate an outbreak of illness among school children in Khagrachhari, reportedly caused by high energy fortified biscuits provided by WFP as part of a school feeding programme.
"Our prime concern is for the affected children and we take any possibility of a food related illness very seriously," said John Aylieff, WFP Bangladesh representative, on Tuesday.
"WFP gives highest priority to the quality and safety of the food we distribute," he said, adding that WFP is awaiting the result of independent lab tests to verify scientifically whether the biscuits are the cause of the problem.
The students, who had fallen sick on Monday, were discharged from local hospitals on Tuesday after treatment.
Local civil surgeon, Dr Abu Taher, said the students were recovered.
The biscuits in question have been sent to Dhaka for laboratory tests, he said.
At least 428 primary school students suffered food poisoning, in two remote upazilas of the district, Laxmichhari and Mohalchhari, after eating the biscuits, said local officials.
Most were admitted to upazila health complexes. Some were taken to Chittagong Medical College Hospital.
Dr Taher told bdnews24.com on Monday that the children had been suffering from stomach ache and diarrhoea.
Laxmichhai upazila chairman Ramrachay Chowdhury said children of Monghapara, Jaindrapara, Debolchhari and Jharolchhari were the worst affected in number.
District civil surgeon and deputy commissioner Md Khalilur Rahman and local officials visited the areas.
WFP distributes food among primary school children, in partnership with local NGO Kabidang, under a schools feeding programme.