PASIR GUDANG (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A total of 780 new cases have been registered at the medic base at the Pasir Gudang Indoor Stadium, bringing the total number of people affected by the pollution stemming from the recent chemical dumping incident here to 3,555 cases.
However, Johor Health, Environment and Agriculture Committee chairman Sahruddin Jamal said only 202 individuals received further treatment at hospitals, with 113 warded. He said many who were hospitalised earlier had been discharged.
"A total of 531 victims who received treatment at Sultanah Aminah Hospital (HSA) and Sultan Ismail Hospital (HSI) have been discharged and allowed to go home," he said.
The illegal dumping of toxic waste into Sungai Kim Kim in Pasir Gudang, Johor, has also forced the closure of all 111 schools in the area.
But earlier, the government said it felt that there is no need to declare Sungai Kim Kim and its vicinity a disaster area or to evacuate people.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said that it has not yet reached the level which required evacuation.
"The people should have faith in the government in handling this issue," he said.
"The government is doing it to the best of our ability, as this is the first of its kind as it involved gases," Tun Mahathir said after a working visit to the disaster area and to victims at the hospital on Thursday (March 14).
Asked whether the worst was over or whether there could be another wave, he said: "We cannot say that the worst is over or whether the situation will improve but what we know is that we know how to handle the problem."
It is not true that the Health Ministry reacted late in the incident, says minister Dzulkefly Ahmad.
He said medical attention was given to victims from the first day of the incident.
"The Health Ministry acted from the first day. I also called the Johor Health Department from the first day and we have treated every case, regardless of whether it's serious or otherwise.
"For some cases, we put them under observation. So, the issue of the Health Ministry acting late is not true at all," he said.