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18 Feb 2020, 18:35 HRS IST
  • PTI
  • Death toll climbs to 78 in one of China's worst industrial blast

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17:50 HRS IST

By K J M Varma

(Eds: Updating with more inputs)

Beijing, Mar 25 (PTI)
With the death of 14 more people, the toll from a chemical plant explosion in China rose to 78 on Monday, as the Cabinet ordered a nationwide inspection of chemical industries, days after the country witnessed one of the worst industrial accidents in recent times.

The explosion occurred after a fire in the fertilizer factory in Jiangsu province on Thursday, according to the government of Xiangshui county.

Cao Lubao, mayor of the city of Yancheng, Jiangsu province, said that the number of fatalities have increased from 64 on Sunday.

The death toll has risen to 78 on Monday, while 566 people are still in hospital, including 13 in critical condition. Sixty six others are seriously injured, state-run China Daily reported.

More than 3,000 workers and around 1,000 residents have been relocated to safe places. The Ministry of Emergency Management said that 88 people were rescued from the scene.

The State Council or China's central Cabinet has ordered a national inspection on potential hazards of dangerous chemicals and safety assessments on all chemical industry parks across the country.

Schools and kindergartens reopened on Monday after the explosion forced their closure on Friday.

Such is the scale of the devastation that the entire industrial park in the Yancheng resembled an area struck by a massive earthquake with almost all buildings demolished in one go.

It is the worst industrial accident since the massive explosion rocked the port area of Tianjin in 2015 in which 173 people were killed.

The China Earthquake Centre reported an earthquake of 3.0 magnitude during the time of the blast.

An aerial video posted by China Daily which provided the first detailed view of the area showed shocking images of the blast which has destroyed the entire neighbourhood, causing an extensive damage showcasing the destructive side of China's unbridled industrial development.

Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical plant, where the blast took place, was flattened and 16 neighbouring factories were left with varying degrees of damage. The impact smashed windows and uprooted roofs of some buildings and reduced others to rubble.

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