Tap water for the 3 million residents of the Chinese city of Harbin were turned off Wednesday as a chemical spill from upriver approached in the Songhua river.
A spokesman for the Heilongjiang provincial government said the toxins approaching were high-density benzene and nitrobenzene, expected to arrive early Thursday.
"Benzene levels were 108 times above national safety levels," China's Environment Protection Administration said.
The city ordered schools and businesses closed, and all available tickets for bus, train and air travel out of the city were snapped up.
Fifteen hospitals were placed on stand-by to cope with possible poisoning victims.
More than 16,000 tons of drinking water was being brought into Harbin by road, according to the Chinese state news agency Xinhua, although that is less than Harbin's residents use in one day.
Downriver, Russian officials are also on alert in towns further down the Songhua, which is called the Sungari river in Russian, UPI reports.
In recent years, genetics has become a cutting-edge science, not only in the professional field of biology, but also because of the enormous social reach of its discoveries and approaches. Not in vain, practically every day the press offers us the discovery of a new gene, a new hereditary determinant directly involved in the manifestation of diseases or physical characteristics.
On December 14, President Putin holds his annual Q&A session with Russian and foreign journalists. This conference is considered to be the beginning of his presidential campaign