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Tainted tap water sickens over 4,000 people

[ 2009-08-03 13:34]     字号 [] [] []  
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For the past week, Zhang Xingwei has been hauling buckets of water up 10 stories to his apartment in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

He is one of 58,000 residents forced to haul their own water or do without after torrential rains contaminated the city's tap water supply on July 23.

"The government is sending fire trucks to supply clean water to residents, but it's still so inconvenient," said Zhang, 30, who lives with his parents.

Some family members have not had a shower in days, and others go to work without washing their faces, he said.

Following the rains, residents began complaining on July 25 about fever, diarrhea and stomachaches after drinking tap water.

Notices appeared on July 26 advising that the water was tainted.

As of 5 pm Saturday, 4,307 residents in 18 Xincheng District communities had fallen ill from drinking the water, Gao Xihua, secretary-general of the Chifeng government, told China Daily yesterday.

Gao said about 3,000 people already had recovered, but 138 people remain hospitalized.

No deaths or serious illnesses had been reported as of yesterday.

Authorities said initial findings from an ongoing investigation showed that the pollution was at least partly due to a power outage during the heavy rains at a sewage pump station.

The power outage led to the discharge of raw sewage into a well 150 m west of the station that is the area's main water source.

The municipal water supply company has built a temporary pipeline connecting the district's water supply network to the company's system, Gao said.

Meanwhile, 18 fire trucks have been delivering clean water three times a day to affected residents.


1. How many residents are forced to haul their own water to their apartments, or do without?

2. When did torrential rains contaminate the city's tap water supply?

3. According to Gao, how many people have already recovered and how many people remain hospitalized?


1. About 58,000 residents.

2. On July 23.

3. About 3,000 people already had recovered, but 138 people remain hospitalized.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Tainted tap water sickens over 4,000 people

About the broadcaster:

Tainted tap water sickens over 4,000 people

Siberian-born Kristina Koveshnikova is a freelance journalist from New Zealand who has worked in print, television and film. After completing a BCS degree majoring in journalism, she won an Asia NZ Foundation/Pacific Media Centre award to work for China Daily website. Kristina previously did internships at ABC 7 News in Washington DC and TVNZ in New Zealand and has written for a number of publications, including The New Zealand Herald and East & Bays Courier.