China blast residents evacuated over chemical fears

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Rescuers work at the site of the explosions in the northern China’s port city of Tianjin, on August 14, 2015 (AFP Photo/-)
Residents around the site of giant explosions in the Chinese port of Tianjin were evacuated over fears of toxic contamination, the official Xinhua news agency said on Saturday, as the death toll rose to 85.
Armed police were carrying out the evacuation after highly poisonous sodium cyanide was found at the site, the Beijing News said, as the blaze intensified dramatically, with several blasts reportedly heard.
“Out of consideration for toxic substances spreading, the masses nearby have been asked to evacuate,” Xinhua said.
Officials said earlier that specialists from sodium cyanide producers were being sent in to the hazardous goods storage facility where giant explosions days earlier sent a huge fireball soaring into the sky and left a vast radius of destruction.
Authorities have struggled to control the resulting days-long blaze and identify the substances present at the scene, sparking fears among locals.
Furious residents and victims’ relatives railed against officials outside a news conference for keeping them in the dark as criticism over a lack of transparency mounted.
There were 21 firefighters among the dead, authorities said, and 721 people had been hospitalised, 25 of whom were in critical condition.
Officials said they were unable to identify precisely what chemicals were at the site at the time.
At the news conference, Tianjin work safety official Gao Huaiyou listed a host of possible substances, adding that recent large exports that passed through the site had included sodium bisulfide, magnesium, sodium, potassium nitrate, ammonium nitrate, and sodium cyanide, among others.
“We believe there should still be a lot stored at the terminal areas,” he said.
Personnel from sodium cyanide producers had been called in “because they are experts on the chemical’s nature and the ways to deal with it”, he …Read More

Source:: PM Newspaper