200 fall sick af­ter am­mo­nia leak

The Myanmar Times - - World -

AN ex­plo­sion at a chem­i­cal fer­tiliser fac­tory left at least 200 peo­ple need­ing med­i­cal treat­ment af­ter toxic gas spread across large parts of Bangladesh’s sec­ond city Chittagong, of­fi­cials said yes­ter­day.

Po­lice said hun­dreds of res­i­dents were also evac­u­ated from their homes near the di-am­mo­nia phos­phate (DAP) plant in the port city where a 500-tonne ca­pac­ity am­mo­nia tank ex­ploded on Au­gust 22.

Mes­bah Ud­din, the dis­trict’s chief ad­min­is­tra­tor, said 56 peo­ple had been ad­mit­ted to the Chittagong Med­i­cal Col­lege Hos­pi­tal af­ter the gas leak, none of whom was in a life-threat­en­ing con­di­tion.

“Eight have been dis­charged. Fortyeight peo­ple are still in the hos­pi­tal to­day but they are out of dan­ger,” he said.

“Around 150 peo­ple were given first aid lo­cally.”

Fire­fight­ers bat­tled through the night to halt the leak and fi­nally de­clared that the sit­u­a­tion was un­der con­trol in the mid-morn­ing.

“We used loud­speak­ers to urge peo­ple to evac­u­ate the area. Hun­dreds did leave but they came back af­ter the sit­u­a­tion im­proved,” said Mr Ud­din.

The lo­cal po­lice chief Rafiqul Is­lam con­firmed that hun­dreds of work­ers from nearby fac­to­ries had also been or­dered to leave their premises.

Other of­fi­cials said that strong winds blew the toxic gas across a 10-kilo­me­tre ra­dius and there were re­ports of peo­ple be­ing taken ill at the south­ern Bangladesh city’s in­ter­na­tional air­port.

Au­thor­i­ties mo­bilised a spe­cial team of some 60 fire­fight­ers af­ter the ex­plo­sion trig­gered panic among peo­ple liv­ing nearby.

“We saved two other tanks by spray­ing wa­ter,” said Abul Kalam Azad, a se­nior fire of­fi­cial, adding that the ex­plo­sion oc­curred when a tank was be­ing re­filled with am­mo­nia gas. –

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