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Russian City To Declare Emergency After Chinese Spill

China's Songhua River on 24 November (epa) 25 November 2005 -- Officials in the Khabarovsk region in Russia's Far East say they will declare a state of emergency today as an 80-kilometer slick of toxic chemicals is approaching the Russian border from China.

Vladimir Popov, vice president of the regional administration, made the announcement on 24 November, one day after China confirmed that a 13 November chemical factory accident in Jilin Province resulted in tons of the industrial solvent benzene being dumped into the Songhua River, which flows into the Amur River. The Amur forms a large part of the border between Russia and China.

The spill is today passing the Chinese city of Harbin, 700 kilometers upstream from the Russia city of Khabarovsk, which has a population of about 700,000.

Chinese officials estimate the slick will not reach Russia for another two weeks, but Popov said the chemicals will likely reach Khabarovsk by 1 December.


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