News / Asia

Insecticide Suspected as Cause of Indian Schoolchildren Deaths

Schoolchildren treated after eating a free meal at a primary school in Chhapra district, eastern Indian state of Bihar, July 16, 2013.
Schoolchildren treated after eating a free meal at a primary school in Chhapra district, eastern Indian state of Bihar, July 16, 2013.
VOA News
Officials in eastern India say at least 22 children have died after eating a free lunch cooked in the school's kitchen.  

Bihar state authorities say at least 27 other students were hospitalized after eating a meal that included rice and lentils Tuesday at a primary school in Masrakh, about 90 kilometers north of Patna, the state capital.  Several of the children, who were between the ages of four and 12, remain in serious condition.

"The doctors have said that two children are still critical and the rest are out of danger. They are saying that some poisonous substance was mixed in the meal, which has led to the incident. It is very sad that so many children died in the incident," said local Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP] leader Sushil Kumar Modi.
 
Map locating town of Chapra, India, where at least 20 children died and dozens were left sick after eating free school meals.Map locating town of Chapra, India, where at least 20 children died and dozens were left sick after eating free school meals.
x
Map locating town of Chapra, India, where at least 20 children died and dozens were left sick after eating free school meals.
Map locating town of Chapra, India, where at least 20 children died and dozens were left sick after eating free school meals.
Angry demonstrators staged a protest following the children's deaths.

An education minister said a preliminary investigation indicates the food contained traces of an organophosphate used as an insecticide. The cook who prepared the meals, and also fell ill, said she noticed something strange in the cooking oil that was used.

"When I saw the oil it looked like it had a layer at the bottom of the jar. I thought that this is locally made oil, as often there is an accumulation of residual waste at the bottom when the oil is domestically prepared.  Generally we get just about enough oil to prepare one meal, as there is no space for storage," said Manju.

The state government says it is investigating the incident.

Many state governments have launched midday meal programs for millions of poor children. Malnutrition is a major health issue for Indian children.

UNICEF says one in every three malnourished children in the world lives in India. The United Nations says malnutrition is more common in India than in sub-Saharan Africa.

Malnutrition in early childhood has serious, long-term consequences because it impedes motor, sensory, cognitive, social and emotional development.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid