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Thursday, 7 May 2020

Vizag gas leak: 1,000s complain of burning in eyes



Vishakapatnam: At least 13 people were killed following a chemical gas leakage at LG Polymers industry in RR Venkatapuram village, Visakhapatnam, early today morning.
The leak was first reported at 3:30 am, an official told a TV channel. More than a 1,000 people in five surrounding villages, in a three km radius, have reported sick.

DG Sawang, the Andhra Pradesh DGP, said there have been seven casualties in the incident so far, adding of one peroson fell into a well while trying to escape. The evacuation is still underway, he said. The plant was shut due to the nationwide lockdown announced in the last week of March.
Reacting to the unfortunate incident, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that he had spoken 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.”

Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are on the spot. Police, ambulances, and fire tenders have been rushed to the area to assist in rescue operations. Reports said the gas leak has been contained.
Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy enquired about the incident and directed the Visakhapatnam District Collector to ensure proper medical care for the affected people. Reddy will be visiting the King George Hospital, where the affected are undergoing treatment.
The spread of styrene monomer vapours in the air depends on the wind speed and currently personnel are working to neutralise the air with chemicals in Visakhapatnam, a senior official of the Department of Factories said today.
A major leak from a chemical plant of LG Polymers near Visakhapatnam in the wee hours impacted villages within a five-km radius.
“The officials are using inhibitors to neutralise the vapours. Slowly the vapours are reducing. It was not arrested fully. They are using neutralisers such as TBC (4-tert-Butylcatechol (TBC),” Joint Chief Inspector of Factories, Visakhapatnam, J Siva Sankar Reddy told PTI.
Exposure to styrene, also known as ethenylbenzene, vinylbenzene can affect the central nervous system (CNS), causing headache, fatigue, weakness, and depression. It is primarily used in the production of polystyrene plastics and resins, according to experts.
“The spread may be two or three kilometres wide. It depends on the wind speed. We cannot exactly say how many kilometres it has spread to. If the wind flow is heavy, there is a chance that it will spread more in the air,” the official added.
“I thought I would die. I don’t know how I survived.” This was how a gas leak survivor in Visakhapatnam described her experience.
“Nobody knew what was happening and all were running to save themselves,” said the woman undergoing treatment at King George Hospital (KGH), where most of the gas victims were brought for treatment.
She said she and her children woke up as they felt difficulty in breathing. “There was utter confusion. We saw people running and we too rushed out,” said the woman who got separated from her two children in the melee.
They all fell unconscious and later found themselves in hospitals. “I can’t even speak properly. The children are recovering,” she said.

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