Pipe­line blast leaves city in ru­ins

About 47 killed in China's Qing­dao

Sunday World - - World -

NEARLY 20 000 peo­ple were evacuated from a Chi­nese coastal city af­ter an oil pipe­line ex­plo­sion killed about 47 peo­ple and sent thick black smoke bil­low­ing into the sky, ac­cord­ing to a lo­cal gov­ern­ment re­port yes­ter­day.

The blast in Qing­dao on Fri­day morn­ing ripped roads apart and dis­rupted the sup­ply of wa­ter, gas and elec­tric­ity in parts of the city.

Au­thor­i­ties dis­trib­uted 2 000 can­dles on Fri­day night and pro­vided 40 000 serv­ings of free food for break­fast and lunch yes­ter­day.

Elec­tric­ity has now been re­stored in all but two com­mu­ni­ties in the dis­trict, the lo­cal gov­ern­ment said.

The re­port did not state a rea­son for the evac­u­a­tion of 18 000 peo­ple, say when it hap­pened, or whether peo­ple had re­turned to their homes.

But ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial me­dia, pupils from nearby schools and res­i­dents were given masks be­cause of fears of pos­si­ble toxic emis­sions. The Global Times later re­ported: En­vi­ron­men­tal mon­i­tor­ing shows that the con­cen­tra­tion of toxic ma­te­ri­als is within na­tional stan­dards.”

The pipe­line, run by state-owned oil gi­ant Sinopec, sprang a leak early on Fri­day and ex­ploded sev­eral hours later as work­ers tried to fix it, the Qing­dao mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ment said in its ac­count on Sina Weibo, a Chi­nese equiv­a­lent of Twit­ter.

Sinopec chair­man Fu Chengyu told state TV yes­ter­day: We] are deeply grieved, we ex­press our deep con­do­lences for the dead, our sup­port to their fam­i­lies… and our apolo­gies to the whole coun­try. [We will] find out the ac­ci­dent’s causes as soon as pos­si­ble and give a rea­son­able ex­pla­na­tion.”

Yes­ter­day, au­thor­i­ties turned their ef­forts to con­tain­ing the oil spill as it spread out into the sea over an area cov­er­ing 3 000 square me­tres. Oil booms and 22 clean-up ships were de­ployed in the zone. Sapa-AFP

ON THE ROCKS: A wrecked car is seen lifted on to the side of a dam­aged road af­ter an pipe­line in the coastal city of Qing­dao, China, on Fri­day morn­ing

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