Death Toll Rises In Tianjin

The death toll for the mysterious explosion in Tianjin last week is up to 114 confirmed dead. Not only that, but there are still almost a hundred persons still missing. It is widely accepted that this number will continue to rise as firefighters, emergency workers, and volunteers sift through the rubble.

If you have not yet heard, there was a massive warehouse explosion in Tianjin, China. Tianjin is the fourth most populous city in China after Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou. The last decade has seen industry boom in the area and with it, pollution and a whole slew of hazardous materials. Needing a place to store these materials, the government has set up numerous warehouses throughout the city to store the chemicals in question.

The majority of residents who live in close proximity to the blast site were completely unaware that they lived so close to a chemical warehouse. There is outrage from the surrounding neighborhood residents, demanding the Tianjin government provide answers to why the warehouse even existed. Luo Shuhui is one of many livid residents who are now wanting the government to pay for their homes.

“Are the officials corrupt, or what? Why did they build a hazardous chemical warehouse near our home without telling us? Who would want to live next to a ticking time bomb? No one!”

Not only are their houses destroyed, or in many cases severely damaged, but there are heightened concerns about the toxicity of the aftermath. A migrant worker named Tian Binyan said as follows.

“I asked my in-laws to take my daughter home. I don’t want them to stay here. I’m worried. I heard it’s going to rain later, and that would make the air toxic.”

The fact that the Tianjin government has yet to provide any concrete answers to the cause of such a devastating event is leaving the city in fear of what could happen in the future. There have been reports that a minimal amount of exposure to something as ubiquitous as water may have played a role in igniting the Tianjin warehouse.

If that is the case, not only is rebuilding going to be a major project, but so will making sure that any other chemical warehouse in Tianjin is abruptly brought up to code. The residents of Tianjin are only now finding out what type of chemicals are actually being stored in their neighborhoods. Talk of sodium cyanide and “tons of cyanide” have now been reported at various Tianjin locations.

It will be interesting for the residents to see how the Tianjin government handles the backlash that this event will undoubtedly create.

[Image Credit via Getty Images]