Volunteer teacher dies from toxic poisoning in Nepal

Volunteer teacher dies from toxic poisoning in Nepal
File photo of villagers making charcoal.

KUALA LUMPUR - There will be no joy this Chinese New Year for the family of Jacqueline Ong, a volunteer English teacher who died from toxic poisoning caused by inhalation of smoke from charcoal briquettes used to warm her room in Nepal.

Ong, 19, left for Kathmandu on Jan 11 for a six-week volunteer programme where she was to teach English at an orphanage.

"Her first two weeks there was an orientation for her to learn the language. She used that time to go trekking," said her mother Lim Mei Ching, 53.

Ong and her friend, identified only as Ana by Lim, reportedly finished a trek in Poon Hill in Ghorepani on Jan 26 and decided to spend the night at a friend's home in Sainbu, Lalitpur.

Lim said she was told by her daughter's host family that Ong was exhausted from her trek and went straight to bed.

However, they warned Ong and her friend that the room they slept in was warmed using charcoal briquettes.

"They said they told her to keep the door open so that air could circulate. But maybe it was too cold that night and they closed the door," she told reporters.

Ong died at the Novic Hospital at about 2pm on Jan 27. She is expected to be cremated at the Nilai Memorial Park tomorrow.

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