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China: Over 100 dead after massive explosions in port of Tianjin


SomaNet News Archive

According to the latest official sources, the death toll from massive explosions in the Chinese port of Tianjin has risen to 104 including 21 firefighters, state media reported Saturday according to VOA.

Agencies reported that Chinese authorities ordered an immediate mandatory evacuation near the site of the massive fire and explosions that devastated an industrial neighborhood in the northeastern city.

VOA quoted the Beijing News on Saturday as saying all people within a three-kilometer radius of the warehouse explosion site are being forcibly evacuated from the area because of a possible chemical contamination.

Sodium cyanide, a toxic chemical that can be deadly, was detected east of the site, according to police cited by the paper. A team of more than 200 military nuclear and biochemical specialists has been searching the area for possible dangerous chemicals.

The official Xinhua news agency reportedly said anti-chemical warfare troops rescued a man Saturday 50 meters from the blast core area. The People's Daily said the 50-year-old man was rescued from a container around 2:00 p.m. local time, nearly three days after the blasts.

Chinese Central Television reported that rescue operations were suspended Saturday after a fresh fire broke out near the scene. The TV channel said a car that was slightly damaged during the explosion had caught fire and posted pictures of black smoke rising from the area.

VOA says hundreds of people remain hospitalized after the Wednesday night explosions at the hazardous materials storage facility in the largely industrial neighborhood in China's fourth-largest city. Local officials have reportedly detected several toxic materials near the explosion site, but have insisted that air and water quality in the city remain at a normal level.

According to VOA, investigators still do not know what caused the initial fire or explosions, which sent gigantic fireballs into the night sky and powerful shockwaves that shattered glass several kilometers away.