Six people have died of suspected alcohol poisoning in Siraha within a weekAll victims had drank local moonshine and fallen violently ill, health officials say.
Six people have died of similar symptoms in two separate settlements of Siraha district in a span of one week. Health officials suspect toxic moonshine behind the deaths.
Two persons of Kataiya Mukhiya settlement in Sakhuwanankarkatti Rural Municipality Ward No. 1 died on Sunday. Police said the two men—a 38-year-old and a 28-year old—died after they complained of severe headache and vomiting. The first man died at home while the second died in the course of treatment in Dharan-based BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences. Both men had reportedly drank locally-brewed alcohol the previous evening.
On August 21, a 65-year-old of the same settlement had died of similar health complaints. According to his family members, he too had gone to bed after consuming locally-brewed alcohol.
Kataiya is a clustered settlement of the impoverished Mukhya community with around 40 households.
On August 22, a 38-year-old resident of a village close to the Mukhiya settlement had died of similar health complaints. According to his family members, he used to consume alcohol almost every day after he had returned home from foreign employment in Malaysia in March.
"He did not have any ailments. He used to drink excessively since the early morning. The alcohol took his life," said his mother, Asalan Devi.
According to the people's representatives, unemployment is one of the leading causes of alcohol abuse in the two settlements. "The family members and relatives informed us that their loved ones died due to excessive drinking," said Shubha Narayan Yadav, the ward chairman of Sakhuwanankarkatti-1.
A team of health officials led by Hari Narayan Chaudhary, the health coordinator of the local unit, reached the settlement on Monday to inquire about the incident. "We found out that all of the deceased had consumed toxic alcohol, complained of severe headache and started vomiting before collapsing," said Chaudhary. “They must have consumed toxic alcohol. The details of the incident is yet to come.”
The Area Police Office in Lahan has also launched an investigation into the incident. "All four people made similar complaints. A detailed investigation is underway," said Deputy Superintendent of Police Sharad Thapa.
The bodies were taken to the district hospital for postmortem. The report is yet to come, said police.
In a similar case, two men have died at a Dom settlement in Nabarajpur Rural Municipality Ward No. 3 within a week. According to the locals, the two men died on August 16 and August 21. Both of them had consumed alcohol the night previous their deaths. They too had severe headaches and vomited before dying.
The production, sale and consumption of illegally brewed alcohol are unchecked in several districts of Province 2. Incidents of death caused by illegally brewed hooch are frequent in various districts of the province. As many as 15 people died after consuming poisonous alcohol in Ramdaiya of Dhanusha district in March. Similarly, 11 people of Meghnath Gorhanna settlement of Bhangaha Municipality and Ahiman village of Bardibas Municipality, Mahottari, died of toxic hooch in April.