95 feared dead in China blast

The scene of the blast

The scene of the blast

Ninety-five people, 85 of them firefighters, are still missing four days after multiple blasts in the north-eastern port of Tianjin, Chinese authorities have said.

At least 112 people died in the blasts and hundreds have been hospitalised.

The explosions, in a warehouse containing hazardous chemicals, were so powerful that few of the recovered bodies have been identified.

Dozens of websites have been shut down for allegedly spreading rumours.

The state news agency Xinhua said 50 sites were accused of creating panic by publishing unverified information about the blasts, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Hundreds of social media accounts have also been closed down since the explosions on Wednesday. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived at the scene of the blast yesterday, Xinhua news agency reported.

At a news conference yesterday morning, officials said they had identified 24 of the dead. Experts are carrying out DNA tests to help indentify the rest of the victims.

At least 21 firefighters are among the dead. Of the 721 people injured, 25 are in critical condition and 33 are serious.

Dozens of relatives of the missing and local residents have held a number of angry protests at a hotel used for official news conferences.

They say they have not received enough information from the government about what chemicals are at the site.

Homeowners are also demanding compensation for damage to their properties.

Also yesterday a senior military officer, Gen Shi Luze, became the first named official to confirm the presence of the toxic chemical sodium cyanide at the site, saying that “several hundred tons” had been identified at two locations in the blast zone.

Residents within a three kilometre radius of the blast site were evacuated on Saturday, amid fears of chemical contamination.

However, Greenpeace said that surface water tests carried out at the site had not found high levels of the chemical.

–BBC

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