Death Toll From China Pesticide Plant Blast Rises to 78

By Reuters
March 25, 2019Updated: March 25, 2019

BEIJING—The death toll from a massive explosion last week at a pesticide plant in eastern China rose to 78 on March 25, with 13 people listed as being critically injured.

Public anger over safety standards has grown in China over industrial accidents, ranging from mining disasters to factory fires, that have marred three decades of swift economic growth.

State television said 566 people were still being treated in hospital after Thursday’s blast at the Chenjiagang Industrial Park in Yancheng City, Jiangsu Province on China’s east coast.

The official Xinhua news agency said China would conduct risk assessments for all chemical industry parks.

Epoch Times Photo
A man enters a damaged shop following an explosion at a pesticide plant owned by Tianjiayi Chemical nearby, in Yancheng City, Jiangsu Province, China on March 22, 2019.  (Reuters)

“Authorities at all levels should inspect enterprises that are involved in nitration manufacturing and storage to make sure they comply with regulations on dangerous chemicals,” Xinhua said, citing a statement from the Ministry of Emergency Management.

According to a report by The Epoch Times, the Chinese regime is preventing non-state media from covering the story as it seeks to control the messaging surrounding the incident.

Locals, who did not wish to be named, told the Chinese-language Epoch Times that they were skeptical of the official figures, in particular, the number of missing persons. They said the hospitals were flooded with people searching for missing loved ones, such that they outnumbered hospital staff many times.

The blast also damaged 16 neighboring factories and shattered windows on buildings located within 3 miles of the epicenter. The China Earthquake Administration recorded a magnitude 3.0 earthquake caused by the explosion.

The Chinese regime has pledged to improve safety in factories, though explosions and other incidents are still commonplace.

In November, two people were killed and 24 others injured in an explosion at a machinery plant in Jilin Province. And in the city of Ningbo, two people were killed in a factory explosion.

In August, five people were killed in an explosion at an aluminum plant in the eastern city of Jiangsu.

In July, 19 people died in a blast at a chemical plant in the southwestern province of Sichuan.

In 2015, 165 people were killed in explosions at a chemical warehouse in the northern city of Tianjin, one of the world’s busiest ports, which is not far from the capital, Beijing.

By Ben Blanchard. The Epoch Times contributed to this report.