Pipeline blast leaves city in ruins
About 47 killed in China's Qingdao
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