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Mayor Accepts Responsibility for Tianjin Blasts
   2015-08-20 06:48:21    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Mao Yaqing

A press conference of Tianjin warehouse blast is held in Tianjin, Aug. 19, 2015. [Photo: Xinhua/Wang Qingqin]

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A week after the massive explosions tore through the Port of Tianjin, leaving at least 114 dead and 64 others missing, municipal authorities in Tianjin are stepping up to make information more available, and to take ultimate responsibility.

CRI's Min Rui has more.


Speaking to reporters at a news conference in the city, Tianjin Mayor Huang Xingguo has offered his official condolences to the victims.

He also says, as the head of the city, he is ultimately responsible.

"Causing such serious casualties and property losses, I am in sorrow and remorse. As the chief of the Tianjin Party committee and municipal government, I have a leadership responsibility that cannot be shirked. So here I am, expressing my deep condolences to the victims."

Meanwhile, municipal authorities are also stepping in to provide more information about the cleanup operations.

Municipal officials are reporting that on Wednesday, a team of chemical soldiers, chemical production staff and chemical scientists entered the core area of the blast in groups, identifying and labelling the remaining hazardous chemicals on-site.

He Shushan, deputy-Mayor of Tianjin, says there are still a lot of dangerous chemicals in the blast zone.

"As far as we know, there are 7 different categories of about 40 types of dangerous chemicals. The three major categories are as follows: first, oxides, namely ammonium nitrate and potassium nitrate, about 1,300 tons in all. Second are inflammable solids, mainly sodium and magnesium, about 500 tons in all. And third, extremely poisonous chemicals, mainly about 700 tons of sodium cyanide."

He Shushan says the variety of dangerous chemicals on-site makes it hard to predict when the entire disposal operations may be finished.

He does say they remain confident they can dispose of the chemicals without incident.

Recent rains in Tianjing have triggered concerns about the chemicals polluting Tianjin's water, ground and air.

Earlier reports had been circulating suggesting noxious gases created by a combination of sodium cyanide and rainwater have been detected in Tianjin.

However, Wen Wurui, head of Tianjin's Environmental Protection Bureau, says those reports are not true.

"The results from testing done by the environmental protection agencies show no such detection. Monitoring data has shown there are some pollutants which have been making it into the environment. Some of the pollution levels have been coming in above standards. However, most readings are still within the limits of national and Tianjin standards."

He says the bureau is strictly following both local and national standards when monitoring air quality.

The frequency of releasing monitoring reports has also been increased.

Officials are going to put out new monitoring information every 2-hours, rather than just once a day.

A newsflash will be issued if pollution problems are detected.

Meanwhile, the Tianjin government also says its working on plans to compensate the victims and those displaced by the explosion.

Authorities are promising equal pensions and compensation for the surviving family members of all the firefighters who died in the Tianjin blasts.

In response to demands by some residents who say they will refuse to return to their homes, the government will buy back their damaged properties.

The city will also help pay for the repairs for those who do want to return.

For CRI, I'm Min Rui.

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