Downpours, Contaminated Water Sicken Thousands in China

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Torrential rains are causing deaths and wreaking havoc in several regions of China. More than 3,700 people in China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region are sick, after polluted water seeped into Chifeng City’s drinking water supply due to heavy rainfall, Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday.

By Wednesday 3,719 people had sought medication for gastrointestinal illness. Eighty-nine were hospitalized with fevers, diarrhea, stomach aches and vomiting after drinking tap water in their homes, according to the health bureau of Chifeng City. On Thursday, Xinhua reported that 30 more had been hospitalized.

Tests of water samples in the city indicate a high amount of bacteria, including coliform and salmonella, according to Gao Xihua, vice secretary general of the Chifeng City Committee of the Communist Party of China.

The contaminants probably seeped into the city’s water supply system after the recent heavy rains.

“The rainwater, along with dirt, are major causes of the water pollution,” Xihua said.

Meanwhile, the death toll is rising in Sichuan Province in southwest China, where downpours caused floods and mud slides on Monday. Local authorities have retrieved 39 bodies, Xinhua reported on Thursday. Many others are still missing.

Shanghai, China’s largest city, is also soaked, after the heaviest rainfall in 70 years flooded about 3,000 households and more than 70 roads in the city on Thursday. No casualties have been reported.

Read more here, here and here.

Sources: Xinhua News Agency, Yahoo News

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, a Bulgaria native, is a Chicago-based reporter for Circle of Blue. She co-writes The Stream, a daily digest of international water news trends.
Interests: Europe, China, Environmental Policy, International Security.

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