More than 100 people fell ill and at least six have died from water and alcohol poisoning in Chieb commune, in Kampong Chhnang province’s Teuk Phos district.

Provincial Department of Health director Prak Vun told The Post on November 29 the alcohol poisoning case was first reported around 4pm on November 28. The victim’s symptoms included headache, dizziness, tightness of the chest, shortness of breath and nausea. Others in the village then reported the same symptoms.

“Until today, 101 people got sick after attending a funeral for two villagers who died from water poisoning. Four of the 101 people died at hospitals in Kampong Chhnang province and Phnom Penh because they had more serious symptoms,” he said.

Those who got sick from rice wine poisoning are between the ages of 20 and 60, some of whom were allowed to return home after recovering. Authorities have collected samples including rice wine and herbal wine to send to the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge (IPC) in Phnom Penh for testing.

“We haven’t received official results yet. I made a preliminary conclusion this poisoning was caused by rice wine that had excessive levels of methanol,” he said.

Health minister Mam Bun Heng has assigned a team to work with the Kampong Chhnang provincial authorities to stop distributing rice wine immediately, said ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine.

The alcohol poisoning happened at the funeral for two people who died due to water poisoning. The water they drank contained a poisonous substance.

A total of 13 people aged 4 to 53 including the diseased suffered from the water poisoning.

According to a health department report, the people ran out of water to drink and then took water from a well dug in a rice field that had been sprayed with watermelon chemicals.