Egypt water causes illness, protests

06:43 22/08/2012

Cairo - Egyptian authorities and witnesses say villagers have locked the health minister and a provincial governor inside a local hospital room after allegedly contaminated water caused more than 50 residents to become ill.

Health Ministry official Amr Qandil says a hospital in the Nile Delta province of Menoufia, 60km north of Cairo, on Tuesday received dozens of people vomiting, feverish and with severe cases of diarrhoea.

He says a medical team collected samples of the water the villagers say is polluted in order to determine whether it is the cause of the sickness.

During a visit by Health minister Mohammed Mustafa and governor Ashraf Helal to the hospital on Tuesday, angry family members held aloft bottles of brackish-looking water while chanting "drink it", then locked the two inside a room.

- AP