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121 Killed in Tianjin Blast
   2015-08-22 16:46:00    Xinhua      Web Editor: Li Cong

Rescuers clean up the debris at the core blast site in Tianjin, north China, Aug. 22, 2015. Chemical-hazard experts have sped up the cleanup operation at the core area of the Tianjin warehouse blasts. [Photo:xinhua/Zhang Chenlin]

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The death toll from a warehouse blast in north China's Tianjin has risen to 121, including 67 firefighters and seven policemen.

Tianjin Police have conducted DNA tests on the 121 killed in the blast, only two of whom are yet to be identified.

Chemical-hazard experts have sped up the cleanup operation at the core area of the Tianjin industrial accident, the vice mayor of the north China municipality told a conference on Friday afternoon.

So far, 200 tonnes of sodium cyanide has been collected and removed from the site, said Wang Hongjiang, vice mayor of Tianjin, adding that the team will soon focus on processing metallic sodium and magnesium.

A total of 3,060 tonnes of polluted water in the core blast area has been removed from the area and treated, Wang said.

Water supply was cut off immediately after the explosions to ensure that tap water remained unaffected, said Wang. In addition, sewage pipes and channels have also been blocked-off over concerns that rain may undo any cleanup efforts.

Contamination at the core blast area is now under control, and the surrounding area is safe, the vice mayor confirmed.

Similarly, cyanide levels in samples from rivers and the offshore sea area were under toxic levels. Air quality in the surrounding area is normal and equal to levels reported across the municipality, said Deng Xiaowen, head of Tianjin environment monitoring center, at the conference.

Deng also attributed the huge number of dead fish along the banks of the Haihe River to an oxygen deficiency, ruling out the possibility of poisoning.

Tianjin has since launched a safety audit across 275 enterprises dealing with dangerous chemicals, said Zhang Yong, head of Binhai New District government. Seventy of the enterprises inspected were found to have potential safety risks and have had their operations suspended, he said.



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