|Soaring dengue fatalities, water crisis, and tainted river leave Malaysia in a bind
Malaysia began rationing water to thousands of households in the most populous state today.
The water crisis comes amid rocketing rates of deaths from the killer dengue virus in the country. Infections have reached about 14,000 so far, this year.
(Pictured, a resident of Selangor's Balakong awaits water deliveries)
Local media reports said the Langat river is also polluted with excessively high concentrations of ammonia, forcing the closure of some water treatment plants.
The lack of significant rainfall has caused increasing alarm, particularly in the state of Selangor, which surrounds Kuala Lumpur, and adjacent areas, as meteorologists have warned the dry spell could last another month.
Selangor is Malaysia's most populous state and its economic and industrial hub.
Water rationing in the state will affect an estimated 45,000 households, a state government spokeswoman said.
“The reduction of water will start today,'' she told AFP. “What we need now is the rain.''
Residents in the Selangor town of Balakong have complained for weeks about taps running dry and last week about 200 residents staged a protest calling on authorities to provide water, according to reports.
The state of Negri Sembilan, adjacent to Selangor, last week declared a water crisis.
The hot spell has also contributed to more cases of dengue fever as it speeds up the life cycle of the aedes mosquito that carries the virus and enhances replication of the pathogen, experts say. Deaths from dengue have risen to 25 this year, compared with just eight in the same period last year, according to the latest Health Ministry figures. The number of cases has also quadrupled to some 14,000 so far this year.