`Water supplies in Harbin , home to more than 3 million people, were cut off last night and will not resume “until further notice”. Schools have been closed whilst many residents are trying to leave the cities because city authorities have warned that pollution is threatening the water supply, which comes from the Songhua River.
An assessment by the Heilongjiang Provincial Environmental Protection Bureau found the river had been contaminated by chemicals released by a massive explosion at the Jilin Petroleum and Chemical Company plant in the city of Jilin on November 13. [..]
The November 13 explosion in the Jilin chemical plant released highly toxic substances, killing at least five people and forcing the evacuation of more than 10,000 nearby residents. It also contaminated the partially frozen Songhua River with benzene and phenyl, which can lead to hepatitis, urinary tract diseases and possibly cancer.’