Warehouse explosion in Tianjin China
The warehouse explosion in the Chinese port of Tianjin has rocked the country and devastated communities in the area. At least 114 people are dead, as well as at least 85 firefighters missing.
Approximately 17,000 homes have been damaged in Tianjin, 90 miles south east of Beijing, with tens of thousands of people now displaced.
The latest figures have reported over 700 people being admitted to hospital, and 21 firefighters among the dead. Families of the deceased and missing are in a frenzy to find out more information, and are rightfully frustrated at the lack of transparency in the cleanup and investigation efforts.
The warehouse explosion was so strong it sent a giant shockwave through the city, destroying buildings and shooting debris through the streets.
The names of contract firefighters missing have not been released, and the deaths of local police officers have also not been reported. A police representative has said, “Not a single police officer death has been reported. Everyone from our whole police station is gone”.
The warehouse explosion occurred approximately 40 minutes after reports of a large blaze at the warehouse, with several small explosions continue to rock the disaster zone in the days following.
Chinese news outlets have reported that the warehouse was housing at least 700 tons of sodium cyanide, which is up to 70 times more than was is allowed. Authorities have reported over 40 different types of chemicals were being kept in the warehouse including ammonium nitrate.
Sodium cyanide is a highly toxic chemical. When it comes into contact with water it can form a flammable gas, which has proved catastrophic.
Authorities have ordered an evacuation of residents within a 1.9 mile radius of the blast site due to chemical contamination concerns.
Photographs have since surfaced showing thousands of dead fish floating on the surface of the nearby River Hai, located 6km from the blast site. The haunting images have spread fears that this could be a result of the warehouse explosion, with toxic chemicals being leaked from the disaster zone.
However the head of Tianjin’s environmental monitoring center has claimed this was not an uncommon occurrence in summer due to poor water quality.
Chinese media have reported over the weekend that a former police chief’s son was a confidential joint owner of the warehouse. The reports have claimed that he used his father’s official connections to acquire licenses for the warehouse, even though they blatantly breached health and safety regulations.
A second massive blast has since torn through the disaster zone, shattering windows over a mile away.
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