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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

104 Dead in Chinese Port City, Evacuation Ordered

August 15, 2015

by VOA News

The death toll from massive explosions in the Chinese port of Tianjin has risen to 104 including 21 firefighters, state media reported Saturday, quoting official sources.

Chinese authorities ordered an immediate mandatory evacuation near the site of the massive fire and explosions that devastated an industrial neighborhood in the northeastern city.

The Beijing News on Saturday said all people within a three-kilometer radius of the warehouse explosion site are being forcibly evacuated from the area because of a possible chemical contamination.

Sodium cyanide, a toxic chemical that can be deadly, was detected east of the site, according to police cited by the paper. A team of more than 200 military nuclear and biochemical specialists has been searching the area for possible dangerous chemicals.

The official Xinhua news agency says anti-chemical warfare troops rescued a man Saturday 50 meters from the blast core area. The People's Daily said the 50-year-old man was rescued from a container around 2:00 p.m. local time, nearly three days after the blasts.

Chinese Central Television reported that rescue operations were suspended Saturday after a fresh fire broke out near the scene. The TV channel said a car that was slightly damaged during the explosion had caught fire and posted pictures of black smoke rising from the area.

Hundreds of people remain hospitalized after the Wednesday night explosions at the hazardous materials storage facility in the largely industrial neighborhood in China's fourth-largest city.

Local officials have detected several toxic materials near the explosion site, but have insisted that air and water quality in the city remain at a normal level.

Investigators still do not know what caused the initial fire or explosions, which sent gigantic fireballs into the night sky and powerful shockwaves that shattered glass several kilometers away.



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