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Hundreds have been admitted to hospital (Photo: Kalinga Times)
Villagers are facing starvation in a tribal area of eastern India
where an outbreak of cholera has killed scores of people in recent
The BBC visited affected districts in Orissa state and
found people with no food, surviving on leaves. They said they had seen
no rice since last year.
Doctors blame contaminated food and water for the cholera epidemic, which officials say has killed 175 people.
Aid workers say years of neglect have helped fuel the spread of the disease.
They say the death toll in the three worst hit districts of Rayagada, Koraput and Kalahandi is at least 250.
When the BBC visited Kalahandi, we were offered leaves to eat.
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Diarrhoea and cholera outbreaks happen nearly every year... lessons are not being learned
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Bratindi Jenna, ActionAid
In a number of affected areas, we found people with no
food. For the past nine months, people in this part of the country have
had no rice.
One official in Kalahandi district told the BBC that
starvation had played a significant role in many recent deaths from
diseases such as cholera and malaria across Orissa.
The Orissa authorities denied there had been any deaths from starvation.
Official Indian policy dictates that those living below the poverty line are given rice by the government.
But those who need it most in this part of the country, appear not to be getting it.
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Meanwhile, the authorities have suspended four local government officials responsible for supplying food to this remote region.
The four are accused of siphoning off emergency food supplies for profit.
Police are also seeking to question an agent who
supplied rice and vegetables to some remote districts. He has been
charged with misappropriating government grain supplies.
The extremely poor indige
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