Risk of chemical contamination from Tianjin blast site sparks mass evacuation

Risk of chemical contamination from Tianjin blast site sparks mass evacuation

Operations at Tianjin port are expected to be hit hard today as authorities have moved to evacuate all residents within a 3 km radius of the blast site over fears of chemical contamination.

There have been widespread reports of potassium nitrate and sodium nitrate among chemicals piled at the Tianjin blast site. Sewage water tested positive for highly toxic sodium cyanide.

The giant explosion at a warehouse near the port on Wednesday has killed at least 85 people with another 721 people injured.

A mass evacuation has now got underway. Locals are angry that it took more than 48 hours for authorities to admit to the need for the evacuation.

The state-run People’s Daily said the Tianjin warehouse, operated by Ruihai Logistics, had “clearly violated” safety rules that say dangerous materials must be stored at least 1 km away from public buildings and main roads. State media said the manager of the Ruihai Logistics site had been detained.

 

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

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