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SUVA. Fiji (Fiji Times, June 12) – The quality of water carted by the Fiji Water Supply to areas affected by water cuts is not safe to drink without boiling, warns the Fiji Nursing Association.

General secretary Kuini Lutua questioned the status of water supplied by the water trucks to affected areas after a reported outbreak of diarrhea, especially among toddlers.

Ms Lutua said diarrhoea was caused by unhealthy hygiene and drinking contaminated water.

"That is why the inconsistent quality of water supplied is related to the increasing number of diarrhoea cases," she said.

Ms Lutua said the health ministry was continuing investigations and analysis on the cause of the diarrhoea outbreak that caused four deaths in the Suva area within two weeks.

She said families in these areas that faced problems of inconsistent water supply and relied on carted supply needed to be more careful.

"Children go to school without having baths.

"The unsafe water supply affected food preparation, personal hygiene and general sanitation, which leads to more health problems."

Residents of Tacirua experiencing water cuts in the last couple of months raised concerns on the quality of carted water.

Rajend Kumar said the water was murky and dirty and contained small dirt particles.

"The colour is brown so it must be dirty," he said.

Another resident, Jone Buadromo, who shared similar sentiments, said the area had experienced intermittent supplies for months now.

Medical practitioner Doctor Husnoor Ali said there were some serious cases of diarrhoea patients that he treated at his surgery in Lami. Dr Ali said such serious cases were caused by bacterial infection. Acting Divisional Engineer Water and Sewage Samuela Tubui refused to comment on the issue referring all questions to what he said on Fiji One News on Saturday.

In the interview, Mr Tubui had said the country's water met the requirements of the World Health Organisation.

The latest death was reported last Wednesday while 49 patients have been admitted at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital since the outbreak.

June 13, 2006

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