Death toll climbs to 78 in one of China’s worst industrial blast


BEIJING, Mar 25: With the death of 14 people, the death toll rose to 78 on Monday in one of the worst industrial accidents in China in recent times, state-run media reported.

The explosion occurred after a fire in the fertilizer factory in Jiangsu province on Thursday, according to the government of Xiangshui county.

Cao Lubao, mayor of the city of Yancheng, Jiangsu province, said that the number of fatalities have increased from 64 on Sunday.

The death toll on Monday climbed to 78, of whom 56 have been identified, Xinhua news agency reported.

More than 600 people were injured from the explosion, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.

More than 3,000 workers and around 1,000 residents have been relocated to safe places. The Ministry of Emergency Management said that 88 people were rescued from the scene.

Such is the scale of the devastation that the entire industrial park in the Yancheng resembled an area struck by a massive earthquake with almost all buildings demolished in one go.

It is the worst industrial accident since the massive explosion rocked the port area of Tianjin in 2015 in which 173 people were killed.

The China Earthquake Centre reported an earthquake of 3.0 magnitude during the time of the blast.

An aerial video posted by China Daily which provided the first detailed view of the area showed shocking images of the blast which has destroyed the entire neighbourhood, causing an extensive damage showcasing the destructive side of China’s unbridled industrial development.

Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical plant, where the blast took place, was flattened and 16 neighbouring factories were left with varying degrees of damage. The impact smashed windows and uprooted roofs of some buildings and reduced others to rubble. (PTI)