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Malaysia shuts 111 schools as toxic wastes sickens students

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Emergency personnel help students school evacuate after toxic chemical spill in Pasir Gudang, Johor state on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. Malaysia’s education ministry has ordered 34 schools to be closed in southern Johor state after toxic waste believed dumped in a river sickened dozens of students and teachers. (AP Photo/Thomas Yong)

Malaysia ordered 111 schools to close on Thursday as more than 200 children, teachers and others were taken to hospital after breathing in chemical fumes, but Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said he believed the poisoning crisis was under control.

A total of 250 people have been hospitalised, including eight in intensive care, according to the national disaster management agency, after being poisoned by fumes from chemical waste dumped in a river in the industrial district of Pasir Gudang in southern Johor state. It was a sharp increase from the 35 people, mostly pupils, who were taken to hospital after the toxic waste dump was first detected last week. “I think the situation is under control,” Mohamad told reporters in Pasir Gudang, after visiting the disaster management operation centre and the hospital where the victims are being treated. (RTRS)

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