At least 11 people have died after styrene gas leaked from the LG Polymers factory in the city of Visakhapatnam, although it is feared the death toll will rise.
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NEW DELHI — Hundreds of people have been taken to hospital after a styrene gas leak at a chemical factory in southeast India.
At least 11 people have died after the leak took place in the middle of the night in the city of Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh state, although the death toll is expected to rise. More than 1,000 people are thought to be ill as a result of the incident.
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People gather in front of the LG Polymers plant following the gas leak.
Operations at the South Korean–owned LG Polymers factory were only just resuming due to coronavirus-related restrictions in place since March. A spokesperson confirmed from Seoul that a security guard discovered the leak overnight.
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Rescuers evacuate people following the gas leak.
Styrene is a gas that is used to make plastics and rubber. Extremely distressing pictures and videos of people struggling to breathe and collapsing on sidewalks have been posted online. Several showed limp bodies of adults and children being loaded into cars and ambulances.
Primary report is PVC gas (or Styrene) leaked from LG Polymers, Vepagunta near Gopalapatnam in Visakhapatnam at around 2:30 AM today
Because of the leakage of the said compound gas hundreds of people have inhaled it and either fell unconscious or having breathing issues.
02:51 AM – 07 May 2020
The director-general of India’s National Disaster Response Force told broadcaster NDTV that people admitted to the hospital were semiconscious, showing signs of nausea and skin irritation.
WATCH | “As of now, the gas leakage has stopped but a lot of people have been hospitalised and are in a semi-unconscious state. Many of them are facing breathing problems, skin irritation”: SN Pradhan, DG, NDRF.
04:07 AM – 07 May 2020
According to the AP, an 8-year-old girl was among those who died, as well as a person who died falling into a well while trying to escape the gas.
A member of the state police has told HuffPost India that at least 70 people are in critical condition in different hospitals, while the director-general of police said that 20 people are on ventilators.
“We are currently assessing the extent of the damage on residents in the town and are taking all necessary measures to protect residents and employees in collaboration with related organizations,” LG Chem, the owner of LG Polymers, said in a statement. Another representative from LG Polymers told the state’s chief minister that in order for casualties to decrease, emissions would have to “come to zero,” which had not happened yet.
GVMC officials blowing water through mist blowers to subside the effect of Syrene Gas leak at Gopalapatnam area of Visakhapatnam.
05:25 AM – 07 May 2020
An official from the state of Gujarat said that 500 kilograms of another chemical that was likely to neutralize the gas leakage was being airlifted to the chemical plant.
After request of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister @ysjagan , Gujarat Chief Minister @vijayrupanibjp gives orders to chemical companies in Vapi to send PTBL chemical by road to Daman for airlift: Ashwani Kumar, Secretary to #Gujarat Chief Minister
11:06 AM – 07 May 2020
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said he had spoken to officials from the federal home ministry and the National Disaster Management Authority, who were monitoring the crisis.
Spoke to officials of MHA and NDMA regarding the situation in Visakhapatnam, which is being monitored closely.
I pray for everyone’s safety and well-being in Visakhapatnam.
04:32 AM – 07 May 2020
India’s National Human Rights Commission has also taken notice of fatalities as a result of the leak and asked the state’s officials to conduct an investigation.