Victims of toxic fumes flock to Pasir Gudang stadium for treatment

Victims of the Sungai Kim Kim chemical pollution seeking early treatment at the Pasir Gudang indoor stadium today.

PASIR GUDANG: The usually quiet indoor stadium here has received hundreds of people seeking treatment after they were exposed to chemical waste pollution from Sungai Kim Kim.

A total of 780 victims were sent to the stadium for early treatment from 6pm to midnight yesterday.

Today, the stadium continued to see a hive of activity with more than 200 victims streaming in by early afternoon.

The stadium has become the new refuge for patients after the Taman Pasir Putih hall was declared a red zone and unsafe to receive victims of the toxic gas leak.

Many of the victims were seen arriving at the stadium accompanied by family members while relief workers scurried to receive them.

The victims are segregated in different sections of the building.

“My wife is sick. At first, she complained that her eyes were painful. She started vomiting and when she arrived at the stadium, she almost fainted,” said Azhar Ahmad, 48, from Taman Cendana.

Taman Cendana is about 10km from Sungai Kim Kim but the pollution has spread to the housing area.

“After receiving early treatment, my wife is still weak and we have to move her to Sultan Ismail Hospital,” Azhar said.

His wife is one of the 3,555 patients who received medical attention since the Sungai Kim Kim pollution was first reported on March 7.

A Rela official, who asked not to be named, estimated that there were at least 200 new patients undergoing health assessments and receiving treatment by early afternoon.

The number of government officials at the scene has also increased.

Angry, scared and frustrated

Azhar is worried about the effects of chemical pollution on his family members.

“The authorities didn’t take action. They should have started the clean-up on day one but they waited for close to a week,” he said.

He said the people living in Pasir Gudang had noticed the air pollution for a while but the pollution at Sungai Kim Kim was the worst they had experienced.

Azhar said he had filed complaints to the city council but no action was taken.

“This is no matter to be taken lightly, this can lead to deaths,” he said.

Yasril Saari, 56, who is also from Taman Cendana, said his child complained about breathing difficulties and dizziness and started vomiting in the morning.

“The Department of Environment must monitor the situation so it doesn’t get worse,” he said.

Yuzaimi Abdullah, 31, rushed from Terengganu to bring his wife and child to the stadium.

Yuzaimi, who hails from Taman Air Biru, about 5km from Sungai Kim Kim, said his five-year-old child had a fever and was coughing.

“I can see patients arriving non-stop. I hope the authorities will resolve the crisis soon,” he said.