Tianjin authorities inspect blast area, death toll: 56

World Today

The latest death toll given by Chinese authorities in the aftermath of the massive Tianjin explosion has risen to 56, including 21 firemen.

Around 721 others people were hospitalized, including 25 critically wounded and 33 in serious condition, said Gong Jiansheng, deputy director of the Publicity Department of the Tianjin Municipal Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.

Search teams rescue firefighter two days after Tianjin blast

Firefighters find one of their own alive in rubble of Tianjin explosion.

A total of 44 people were rescued, said Zhou Tian, head of the city’s fire department, after the two blasts happened at about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday following a fire in a warehouse for hazardous chemicals.

Firefighters have mostly extinguished the flames at the site, he said.

However, the most toxic chemical that has been tested so far at the explosion site is cyanide, which is highly lethal and can kill a person within an hour of being poisoned. Perhaps some 700 tons of sodium cyanide were stored in the warehouse.

Rain has been forecasted for the Tianjin area, which could further erode the situation because when cyanide contacts water, it burns. The resulting gas is also lethal.

Explosion site still emitting black smoke

CCTV News visits Tianjin explosion site. Black smoke still being emitted.

Authorities tracking the chemicals stored in the warehouse said that it’s difficult to obtain accurate information because documentation about them was destroyed in the explosions.

Initial estimates say the blasts have affected 17,000 households, 1,700 enterprises and 675 commercial stores, said Zhang Ruigang, vice head of Tianjin Binhai New Area.

The city has opened 12 schools and 3 apartment buildings to accommodate 6,300 homeless residents, Zhang said.

China to inspect dangerous chemicals after Tianjin blasts

In this photo taken Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, a man walks through the site of an explosion at a warehouse in northeastern China's Tianjin municipality. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

In this photo taken Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, a man walks through the site of an explosion at a warehouse in northeastern China’s Tianjin municipality. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

China will roll out a nationwide examination of dangerous chemicals and explosives after the deadly explosions, Xinhua reported.

The State Council, China’s cabinet, issued an emergency notice on Friday, in which it asked governments at all levels to reinforce the safety management on dangerous chemicals and explosives, strictly control the access threshold for industrial projects on these materials, and firmly implement special regulatory measures for highly toxic chemicals such as cyanide, as well as inflammable and explosive materials.

Biological rescue team tests air in Tianjin for toxic gasses

Members of China's Nuclear Biological Emergency Rescue Team suit up to test air for possible toxic gasses after Tianjin blast.

The cabinet also urged governments at all levels to learn bitter lessons from the two massive blasts, and to crack down unwaveringly on illegal activities to ensure safety.

The warehouse was owned by Tianjin Dongjiang Port Rui Hai International Logistics Co. Ltd., which was founded in 2011 and is a storage and distribution center of containers of dangerous goods at the Tianjin Port.

Lines form in Tianjin to donate blood after the blasts

Only a few minutes after the opening of the donation bus located on Binjiang Road in Tianjin, a long line was formed by locals. It only took half an hour for the blood bags on the bus to run out, Global Times reported.

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Meanwhile, more people were gathering at the Tianjin Blood Center. Over a hundred people had registered at the center for blood donations only four hours after the blasts, and up until 5 p.m. on Thursday, the registration spots for the next day had been full.

Some local shops have also voluntarily brought free food and water to blood donation sites for donors.

Report compiled with information from CCTV News and Xinhua.