Indian authorities said they have been busy pumping water out of a sprawling lake in the south of the country in an effort to allay local villagers’ fears that it was contaminated after the discovery of the body of a woman infected with HIV a week ago.
The lake near the village of Morab in Karnataka, about 440 km (273 miles) from the state’s capital of Bengaluru, covers 32 acres (13 hectares).
The drainage operation has run for the last four days and fresh water from a nearby canal will be used to replenish the lake over the next four to five days, said Naveen Hullur, who is in charge of the area.
The lake is a key source of drinking water for more than 1,000 people who live in the drought-affected region and earn their livelihoods by farming the surrounding land.
According to the local official, although the virus is usually transmitted through sexual intercourse, infected blood and from an infected mother to the baby in her womb or through breastfeeding, the villagers’ alarm at the discovery a week ago drove the demand for the lake to be drained.
‘We tried our best to assure the villagers that we would get the water tested, but they did not budge and even refused to come near the lake,’ Hullur added.