29 Jan 2004

Christmas leftovers blamed for 38 deaths in Indonesia's Papua province

8:33 pm on 29 January 2004

Left-overs from a traditional Christmas feast in late December have been blamed for the death of 38 people in Indonesia's Papua Province.

The coordinator of the Health Crisis Centre in Jayapura, Paminto Widodo, says nearly 2-thousand people also suffered diarrhoea after eating contaminated pork.

Paminto Widodo says the food was apparently not preserved and was contaminated with bacteria.

The state Antara news agency on Tuesday put the death toll at 30 and said the victims had reportedly died of diarrhoea after drinking contaminated unboiled water.

However health authorities say it was unlikely the residents died of water poisoning because they had always used the same water sources.