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Explained in pictures: All you need to know about Vizag gas disaster

The leakage is believed to have taken place when the plant's employees were preparing to reopen it following some recent relaxations announced by the government

Topics
Gas leakage | Accident

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

 

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Vapour billows out from LG Polymers industry after a chemical gas leak, in RR Venkatapuram village, Visakhapatnam. Photo: PTI

A Styrene gas leaked at a chemical factory in Visakhapatnam, killing at least eleven people, including a minor. Another 1,000 people reported sick after the gas spread in five villages within a three-km radius of the plant.

 

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A woman being taken for treatment at King George Hospital, Visakhapatnam. Photo: PTI

People woke up breathless and feeling a burning sensation in their eyes as the emission spread to the adjoining villages at around 3.30 am. Some fell unconscious while fleeing, according to eyewitness accounts.

 

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NDRF personnel evacuate an elderly woman after a major the chemical in Visakhapatnam. Photo: PTI

As many as 3,000 people were evacuated to safe places and at least 250 were admitted to various hospitals, according to initial reports. Those in critical condition were put on oxygen support.

 

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A father rushes to take his child for treatment at King George Hospital in Visakhapatnam. Photo: PTI

Unconscious children being carried by parents in their arms, people laying on roads, health workers scrambling to attend to those affected by the styrene vapour leak and residents fleeing were some of the scenes that played out near here on Thursday, bringing back grim memories of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy.

 

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Affected people being taken to a hospital for treatment after the tragedy. Photo: PTI

King George Hospital’s G Arjuna said a high concentration of gas near the leakage point and a longer period of inhalation by people when they were asleep made them sick.

 

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Another affected man being taken for treatment at King George Hospital. Photo: PTI

Vizag collector Vinay Chand said the administration rushed ambulances and other vehicles to evacuate people soon after receiving the information at around 4 am. Efforts were still on to contain the leakage completely.

 

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Affected people being treated at a hospital. Photo: PTI

Established in 1969, the LG Polymers manufacturing plant produces hypol and EPS polymers, polystyrene, expandable polystyrene and other styrene polymers, according to the company’s website. The Indian subsidiary of South Korea's LG Chem had taken it over 15 years ago.

 

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LG Chem's Visakhatnam plant. Photo ANI

The plant had been shut for 40 days due to the nationwide lockdown. However, the leakage is believed to have taken place when the plant’s employees were preparing to reopen it following partial relaxations announced by the government.

 

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An affected woman on a wheelchair being taken to King George Hospital for treatment. Photo: PTI

Chronic exposure to styrene in humans can affect the central nervous system (CNS), causing headache, fatigue, weakness, depression and CNS dysfunction, hearing loss, and peripheral neuropathy.

 

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A view inside hospital where the affected people are being treated. Photo: PTI

The plant is situated in the upstate of Visakhapatnam. The city and the surrounding area houses to around five million people.


First Published: Thu, May 07 2020. 17:34 IST
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