Firemen work following an explosion at a chemical plant in Yancheng in China's eastern Jiangsu province. AFP
SHANGHAI: An explosion at a pesticide plant in eastern China has killed 47 people and injured more than 600, state media said on Friday, the latest casualties in a series of industrial accidents that has angered the public.
The blast occurred on Thursday at the Chenjiagang Industrial Park in the city of Yancheng, in Jiangsu province, and the fire was finally brought under control at 3.00am on Friday (1900 GMT), state television said.
Survivors were taken to 16 hospitals with 640 people being treated for injuries. Thirty-two of them were critically injured, it said.
The fire at a plant owned by the Tianjiayi Chemical Company spread to neighbouring factories. Children at a kindergarten in the vicinity were also injured in the blast, media reported.
The cause of the explosion was under investigation, but the company - which produces more than 30 organic chemical compounds, some of which are highly flammable - has been cited and fined for work safety violations in the past, the China Daily said.
Paramilitary police officers carry an injured victim following an explosion at a chemical industrial park in Xiangshui county on Thursday. Reuters
President Xi Jinping, who is in Italy on a state visit, ordered all-out efforts to care for the injured and to “earnestly maintain social stability,” state television said.
Authorities must step up action to prevent such incidents from happening and find out the cause of the blast as quickly as possible, Xi added.
“There have recently been a series of major accidents, and all places and relevant departments must fully learn the lessons from these,” the report cited Xi as saying.
The Jiangsu environmental protection bureau said in a late Thursday statement the environmental monitoring station in the area had found no abnormal concentrations of toluene, xylene or benzene.
Concentrations of acetone and chloroform outside the perimeter of the explosion zone were also within normal limits, it added.
“There have recently been a series of major accidents, and all places and relevant departments must fully learn the lessons from these
Jiangsu will launch inspections on chemical producers and warehouses, according to an emergency notice published by official media on Friday.
The notice, published on the news website of Jiangsu province’s Communist Party, said the government would shut down any chemical firms found not complying with regulations on dangerous chemicals.
Public anger over safety standards has grown in China over industrial accidents ranging from mining disasters to factory fires that have marred three decades of swift economic growth.
In 2015, 165 people were killed in a series of explosions at a chemical warehouse in the northern city of Tianjin.
Fire rises following an explosion at a chemical plant in Yancheng in China's eastern Jiangsu province. AFP
The explosions at Tianjin, one of the world’s busiest ports and not far from the capital, Beijing, were big enough to be seen by satellites and register on earthquake sensors.
Despite repeated pledges by the government to tighten safety, chemical plants in particular have been plagued by disasters.
In November, a series of blasts during the delivery of a flammable gas at a chemical manufacturer killed 23 people.Reuters
Nine other people were injured by the gas explosion on Monday afternoon, which took place in a mine owned by Shanxi Pingyao Fengyan Coal & Coke Group Co, according to official news agency Xinhua.
The tanker carrying liquefied petroleum gas exploded at a highway exit in Taizhou in Zhejiang province on Saturday afternoon, an earlier report said. The blast sent flames and a cloud of smoke high into the sky, state-media pictures showed.
One blast took place around noon and another followed about an hour later in Jolo, the main town on Jolo island, a militarised stonghold of the Abu Sayyaf, a militant group that has pledged allegiance to Islamic State.
There were no immediate reports of casualties from the strikes and no claim of responsibility, two police officers said. A number of Shi'ite Muslim militant groups have offices and supporters in eastern Baghdad.
Both had pleaded not guilty to charges of violating the official secrets act, which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years. "Three years each, no hard labour," said the source, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue.
Chanting the same "Women, life, freedom!" mantra used in demonstrations in Iran, about 25 Afghan women protested in front of the Iranian embassy in Kabul, before being dispersed by Taliban forces firing in the air, an AFP correspondent reported.