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China: Water Crisis in Harbin

Categories: East Asia, China

Harbin [1], a city in northeast China, has been suspended from water supply [2] for four days due to contamination over its water by spill from a local chemical factory after an explosion. During the period of shortage, which started from Nov 23 and ended yesterday, the water for both livelihood and commercial production is suspended. It affected 3.8 million inhabitants of Harbin.

ESWN [3] post with some photos showing that local resident rushed to supermarket for buying drinks and purified water. He links to some of the major media coverages of the water crisis.

Howard French [4] observed the rumor of water crisis and earthquake as well before official annoucement. (Later the earthquake confirmed to be wrong ). He thought there is a problem of coordination and efficiency in government handling the crisis.

Inertia [5] (in ZH) said the rapid economic development of China is at the high cost of environment pollution while fairly no one pay attention to this point. Liberalism and WTO accelerate this process.

Tango [6](in ZH) criticize 3 different and confusing documents issued concerning the suspending of water, which eventually caused general panic among residents. They simply do not know what the government has not yet revealed about the fact. When everybody rushed for water, the official newspaper and TV just said, “the city is in order and people are calming down”

Fanjun [7] (in ZH) reviewed the Chinese media coverage that put their primary focus on transparency of government. He thought that many of the stories written were short-sighted. He asked the CNPC [8], to which the chemical factory belongs, to take responsibilities of compensation and treatment afterward.

From yesterday the water supply has been recovered [9] partly. Some water-consuming enterprises are still limited.

Further Reading:

Technorati Search for “Harbin”

Bingfeng: Governor explains why Harbin lied about water pollution [10]
T-Salon: The Way Government Agencies Handled Harbin Chemical Spill [11]
NYT: Water Crisis Shows China's Pollution Risks [12]
Guardian: Harbin's poor left out in the cold as city runs dry [13]
Washington Post: Chinese Officials Sought to Hide Toxic Spill [14]
Financial Times: Harbin authorities seek to win back confidence

Photo taken by a resident via BBS [15]
Photo Via Flickr [16]