Monday, 17 August 2015

Tianjin blasts death toll rises to 114, 70 missing

Death toll for the massive Tianjin blasts rose to 114 after rescuers found two more bodies in the debris, a municipal publicity official said on Monday.

Gong Jiansheng, deputy head of Tianjin's publicity department, told the press the identities of 54 bodies have been confirmed, adding another 70 people are still missing.

Among the bodies, 39 were firefighters and five were policemen. The number of missing was previously 95, before 25 people were identified among the bodies found.

Most of the missing are firemen, he added.

Rescuers have made four comprehensive search efforts through what they call "a maze of containers", and the search is still underway.

"Navigating through the blast zone is extremely dangerous, because of the burning chemicals and twisted containers, which could collapse at any minute. We had to make marks in order not to get lost," said Wang Ke, who led a group of chemical specialist soldiers.

Two massive blasts, which occurred before midnight on Aug. 12, wreaked havoc several kilometers away.

By Monday, a total of 698 people remain in hospital, of whom 57 are still in critical condition.

A minor explosion occurred on Monday morning at the blast site, located in Binhai New Area. Dark smoke has abated, but flames can still be seen.

Bao Jingling, chief engineer of the city's bureau of environmental protection, said about 700 tonnes of sodium cyanide were stored at the blast site and they remain intact.

The blasts have affected 17,000 households and 1,700 enterprises. At least 6,000 residents have been displaced.

Monday 17 August 2015


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