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Forty workers fall ill

Forty workers at Kárahnjúkar dam in Iceland’s eastern highlands suffered from diarrhea and vomiting on Friday after having consumed food and drink from open containers inside the tunnels where they were working.

According to Helga Hreinsdóttir, the managing director of East Iceland’s Public Heath Authority, there is a lack of cleanliness in the tunnels, Fréttabladid reports.

Hreinsdóttir explained the workers cannot wash their hands before they eat and that they serve themselves onto paper plates from open containers.

Hreinsdóttir said she had requested improvements, including that the food be delivered to the workers in the tunnels in pre-packaged portions.

A Portuguese worker who returned home from Kárahnjúkar yesterday told Fréttabladid about his experience inside the tunnels.

He said the workers had been deep underground for 12 hours on Thursday without food and drink. He also said they had licked the tunnel’s walls for water.

When food and drink arrived the workers dipped their cups into an open container of apple juice, but could not wash their hands first, the Portuguese worker explained.

Thorvaldur P. Hjardar, assistant district director of East Iceland’s Work Supervision Authority, told Fréttabladid he would visit Kárahnjúkar dam today to investigate the working conditions.

Hjardar said there is no problem with the workers being underground for more than ten hours as long as they have proper eating and lavatory facilities and can wash their hands.

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