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UMERKOT, Aug 24: About 50 people were hospitalised late on Tuesday night after they fell unconscious after drinking highly contaminated water supplied by the town's water supply agency.

The ponds from where the town is supplied water have been filled with rainwater, which has flowed into the ponds from rain-affected areas.

The water's colour has turned blackish as it has a mixture of pesticides, cow dung, fossils and other chemicals, which is highly dangerous for human health.

It is learnt that chlorination has not been carried out in the ponds for a long time and people have no other option but to consume the contaminated water.

Hospital sources said that scores of patients, including children were brought late night with complaints of vomiting, gastroenteritis and abdominal pain and distension.

About 25 patients were admitted to a private medical centre because of their critical condition while others were discharged after treatment, said the sources.

Patients Iqbal, Ali Mohammad, Saindad and others told Dawn that more than 50 labourers were having dinner after Iftar at a hotel and drank water. They felt disorder in stomach when they went to bed, they said.

Dr Chetan Meghwar said that the patients suffered from food poisoning after drinking contaminated water or eating rotten food. If they were not provided immediate treatment they could suffer from nefrotoxicity which could lead to acute renal failure and cause death, he said.

Nefrotoxicity is a poisonous effect of some substances, both toxic chemicals and medication, on the kidneys.

The doctor said the patients would take two to three days to stabilise. The water being supplied to the town could cause gastroenteritis, diarrhoea, food poisoning and other waterborne diseases, he said.

Doctors advised people to boil water before use because the water supplied to them had mixed with rainwater and floodwater.