An explosion on Thursday afternoon at a pesticide plant owned by Tianjiayi Chemical in the Eastern region of China has left no fewer than forty-seven (47) people dead and over six hundred people including children injured.
According to The Guardian, the blast, which occurred on shortly before 3pm on Thursday afternoon in Yancheng in Jiangsu province, north of Shanghai, is the latest in a series of industrial accidents that has sparked widespread public anger.
State Television has confirmed that the fire has been brought under control in the early hours of Friday. But not before the fire spread to factories close to it and a kindergarten close to it.
The survivors, numbering about six hundred and forty (640), got transported to about sixteen (16) hospitals and got treated for their injuries. Thirty-two of them were critically injured, state media reported.
Even though the cause of this blast is still undergoing investigation, China Daily reveals that the company – which produces more than 30 organic chemical compounds, some of which are highly flammable – has been cited and fined for work safety violations in the past. The Jiangsu environmental protection bureau said in a statement late on Thursday that the environmental monitoring station in the area had found no abnormal concentrations of toluene, xylene or benzene.
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It added that concentrations of acetone and chloroform outside the perimeter of the explosion zone were within normal limits and revealed that it will launch inspections on chemical producers and warehouses, according to an emergency notice published by official media on Friday.
The notice, published on the news website of Jiangsu Communist party, said the government would shut down any chemical firms found not complying with regulations on dangerous chemicals.
Public anger over safety standards has grown in China over industrial accidents ranging from mining disasters to factory fires that have marred three decades of swift economic growth. In 2015, 165 people were killed in a series of explosions at a chemical warehouse in the northern city of Tianjin. The explosions at Tianjin, one of the world’s busiest ports and not far from the capital, Beijing, were big enough to be seen by satellites and register on earthquake sensors.
Despite repeated pledges by the government to tighten safety, chemical plants in particular have been plagued by disasters. In November, a series of blasts during the delivery of a flammable gas at a chemical manufacturer killed 23 people.
A #chemicalplant in Yancheng, East China's Jiangsu Province exploded around 2pm Thursday afternoon. No casualty was reported as of press time. pic.twitter.com/cP429EeTrl
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) March 21, 2019
The city government revealed on its Weibo account that 90 out of the 600 people injured remain in serious condition.
— 红心出墙 (@phoebemi2015) March 21, 2019
Recall that the province suffered a devastating chemical plant explosion in late 2017, which left 10 people dead. The biotech company involved was later fined five million yuan ($730,000) and had its permit revoked after an equipment failure was found to have caused the blast. Thirteen people were prosecuted over the explosion.
— 流浪汉 (@gS4ADL8e70O2r5r) March 21, 2019
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