Libyan poisoned alcohol death toll rises to 60

AP News
Posted: Mar 12, 2013 12:47 PM

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — Libya's health minister says 60 people have died over the past four days from drinking homemade alcohol that contained poisonous methanol.

Minister Nouri Doghman says another 709 people have been harmed.

He said Tuesday that some were blinded, and others went into comas or suffered kidney failure. He pointed to delayed relief efforts as contributing to the increasing toll. On Monday, 51 were reported dead.

He said the dead range in age from 19 to 50 years old, and that Algerians and Tunisians were among them.

The sale and consumption of alcohol is banned in the conservative North African country. Like illegal drugs elsewhere, some Libyans turn to black market dealers to buy alcohol, which is often cooked in homes or deserted farms.

The ministry says it is investigating.