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Death toll rises to 112 after Tianjin blasts; over 100 still missing

News Agencies | Updated on: 13 February 2017, 3:42 IST

The official death toll in the Tianjin port city twin blasts rose to 112 on 16 August after authorities recovered more bodies from the debris. 95 people are still missing.

About 722 people are hospitalised following the Wednesday blasts - one of China's worst industrial disasters - and the condition of 58 of them is said to be critical or serious.

As many as 85 firefighters and 10 other people are still missing since the blasts shook the area that has also claimed 112 lives so far.

"By 9:00 am (0630 IST) on August 16, the total number of deaths was 112," said Gong Jiansheng, the deputy chief of the city's propaganda department.

State-run Xinhua news agency also tweeted that Prime Minister Li Keqiang visited the blast scene, some 140 kilometres from the capital Beijing.

"Premier Li Keqiang arrives at #Tianjin blast scene," it said.

Twenty-one firefighters, who were among the first batch that rushed to put off the fires at the warehouse before the explosions, were among those killed.

The firefighters' deaths is the highest so far in a tragedy in China's recent history.The explosions were so powerful that few of the recovered bodies have been identified.

Officials said the fires have been put out and no further explosions were expected.Some minor explosions followed by fires were reported from the area yesterday, three days after the massive blasts.

A total of 47 people have been rescued, said Zhou Tian, head of the city's fire department.

An Indian employee of a firm based in Tianjin was injured and has been treated for non-lethal injuries, officials said.

Family members of the?missing firefighters have been demanding more information about their dear ones.Meanwhile, dozens of websites and hundreds of social media accounts have been shut down for allegedly spreading rumours.Xinhua said 50 sites were accused of creating panic by publishing unverified information about the blasts.

A total of 70 specialised anti-chemical soldiers entered the core area of the blasts site yesterday to search for possible lives for the first time after the blasts.

Meanwhile, 1,100 troops were combing nearby residential quarters home by home to search for potential survivors.

Wen Wurui, head of the Tianjin municipal bureau of environmental protection, said environmental specialists are taking measures to prevent air and water pollution caused by chemicals leaked from the blasts, specially after the confirmation of the sodium cyanide at the blasts site.

The deadly chemical emits highly toxic gases if it is burnt or comes in contact with water along with other chemicals.

President Xi Jinping has asked officials to learn from the "extremely profound" lessons paid for with blood.

-PTI

First published: 16 August 2015, 10:39 IST
 
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