China chemical plant explodes, killing 47

By Darryl Coote
China chemical plant explodes, killing 47
\Rescuers work near the site of an explosion at a chemical industrial park in Xiangshui county, in east China's Jiangsu province. Photo by EPA-EFE/STRINGER CHINA OUT

March 22 (UPI) -- At least 47 people are dead and 32 are in critical condition following an explosion at a chemical plant in eastern China.

The pesticide plant exploded Thursday afternoon with the force of a small earthquake that reduced the building to rubble, the South China Morning Post reported.


The explosion is being blamed on a fire that broke out at the factory run by Tianjiayi Chemical.

Workers at a factory almost 2 miles away said its roof collapsed and windows and doors were blown out from the blast.

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China's earthquake administration reported a magnitude-2.2 earthquake at the time of the explosion.

The Ministry of Emergency Management said 88 people have been rescued and another 58 people are in serious condition with injured people arriving at Xiangshui People's Hospital on Friday.

The fire was brought under control Friday morning by more than 900 firefighters who were brought in from across the province, authorities said.

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Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping demanded Friday that more efforts need to be put forth to rescue victims still trapped in the building, the state-run Xinhua reported.


He said the injured must be treated quickly and relief work must be properly executed to maintain social stability.

He also demanded that environment monitoring and early warning systems need to be beefed up to prevent environmental degradation and further disasters.

The State Administration of Work Safety listed the plant as having 13 safety problems following an inspection last year, The New York Times reported.

The company also previously received six government penalties over waste management and air pollution.

Industrial accidents are not uncommon in China due to poorly enforce safety standards, BBC reported.

In 2015, 173 people were killed and 1,000 injured at a Tianjin factory explosion that has been blamed on weak regulations.

More recently, in July 19 people died due to a chemical plant explosion in Sichuan.

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