Health Authority Says Deçan Potable Water Infected as Serbia Blasts Defamation on Its Involvement

The water in the village of Drenoc, in the municipality of Deçan in Kosovo is infected with E. coli and other bacteria that make the water not safe to drink.

This was announced by the Kosovo National Institute of Public Health (IKSHPK)  on Thursday.

The health national authority said that the water samples taken from the Deçan region on July 13 carry signs of nonpathological bacteria that may indicate that potable water is contaminated.

However, the Institute declared the water is undrinkable only for the village of Drenoc so far.

More than 1,500 people in the municipality of Deçan have shown symptoms of poisoning over the past week and authorities suspected that the water supply may have been contaminated.

In the meantime the Serbian government on Thursday strongly condemned the Kosovar-Albanian media reports claiming that the Serbs may be behind water contamination that resulted in the mass poisoning in the town of Decan, reported Sputnik news agency.

"The [Serbian government's] Office for Kosovo and Metohija warns that a very dangerous and irresponsible disinformation campaign is taking place on the part of the Albanian public, in which the Serbs are trying to be held responsible for the water poisoning in Decan without a single proof," the government said in a statement.

It added that a similar disinformation campaign served as a pretext for a wave of violence, which resulted in the pogroms of the Serb population in Kosovo in 2004.

"This spread of fake news can have far-reaching consequences for the already fragile security situation in Kosovo and Metohija. It is taking place at a time of increasing incidents [of violence] against Serbs in the region, and now the security of the Monastery Visoki Decani is being targeted and threatened again," the statement read.

Deçan is supplied by the regional water supply entity Hidrodrini. Following an earlier statement by IKSHPK on Thursday, the company announced that it is set up three teams to inspect and verify the quality of the water. / Argumentum.al