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Afghan refugees, aged 5 and 6, die after eating poisonous mushrooms in Poland

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By Euronews with AP, AFP
The children were hospitalised last week near the Polish capital, Warsaw.
The children were hospitalised last week near the Polish capital, Warsaw.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, FILE
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A second Afghan refugee boy has died in Poland, days after eating poisonous mushrooms.

The six-year-old boy had been left in a critical condition and his chances of survival were low despite a liver transplant.

But doctors at the Centre for Children's Health Institute in Warsaw confirmed on Friday that the boy was dead.

His 5-year-old brother also died of poisoning on Thursday morning, days after the family had recently been evacuated from Kabul.

The two children and their older sister were hospitalised last week after consuming the mushrooms near where they were staying.

It is understood that the family had collected highly poisonous death cap mushrooms in the forest around the refugee centre in Podkowa Lesna, near Warsaw. The 17-year-old girl has been released from care in good condition.

"Unfortunately, we were not able to help the two boys," hospital director Marek Migdal told reporters.

Prosecutors are questioning the center’s staff about the events last week as part of an investigation that could lead to possible criminal charges for negligence and unintentional exposing people to a serious threat of loss of health or life, Aleksandra Skrzyniarz, a spokesperson for the prosecutors' office in Warsaw, said. The offense carries a maximum prison term of three years, she said.

The parents of the children were also at the hospital under psychological care. Prosecutors and police in central Poland are investigating the incident.

Poland had evacuated the family last month at the request of the United Kingdom after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

Jakub Dudziak, a spokesperson for the Foreigners' Office that runs migrant centres in Poland, has denied reports that the children had eaten the mushrooms because they were not sufficiently fed.

In a separate incident, four Afghan men were also hospitalised after eating poisonous mushrooms near a different refugee centre in Warsaw, according to the office.

"In connection with this unfortunate accident, employees of the centres will raise awareness among Afghan citizens not to consume products of unknown origin," Dudziak said.

Poland completed its evacuation mission last week after removing 1,231 people from Kabul.