08/27/2008, 00.00
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Poisonous gas in Guangxi: 18 dead, 10 thousand evacuated, toxic rivers

The accident originated in a chemical plant in Yizhou, releasing sulfurated hydrogen and carbon monoxide. Explosions at the plant continued for six hours. People are banned from drawing water from Longjiang River, polluted by gases and industrial waste.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) –Yizhou authorities (Guangxi) are in high alert in the wake of explosions at a chemical plant that have released poisonous gases which risk polluting the nearby river Longjiang. The blast took place yesterday morning but the plant burned for a full six hours.  So far 18 people have died and a further 60 injured have been hospitalised.  Authorities have confirmed that yesterday evening toxic gases were still pouring from the plant and that the river is now polluted.

At least 11 thousand people within a 3 km radius of the accident have been evacuated for fear of deadly poisoning.  The local government has warned the local population against drinking water from the river.  Fish farms have been moved from the vicinity of polluted waters.

The Guangxi Guangwei Chemical Company plant is located in an industrial area on the outskirts of Yizhou city and mainly produces polyvinyl acetate - used in adhesives - calcium carbide and vinyl acetate monomer, which is used in paints, adhesives and coatings.

The explosion produced sulfurated hydrogen and carbon monoxide. At least 100 chemical experts are on the ground to verify the reasons behind the explosions and its possible consequences.


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