China blaast killed 50
China blasts: fireball from Tianjin explosions injures hundreds and kills at least 50 – updates
Coverage as huge explosions rock the northern port city of Tianjin
Updated 2h ago
Handheld footage captures the series of explosions in the Chinese city of Tianjin on Wednesday night. Link to videoClaire Phipps and Matthew Weaver
Thursday 13 August 2015 15.56 BST
More drone footage shows the extent of the damage on the still smouldering site of the blasts.
We are going to wrap up this blog for now. Thanks for reading.
Updated at 3.56pm BST
The US State department has offered its condolences.
Here’s what we know so far.
- At least 50 people have been killed and 701 injured after two explosions at a warehouse containing large quantities of dangerous chemicals in the port city of Tianjin.Of those wounded 71 are said to be suffering severe injuries.
- Fires were still smouldering almost 22 hours after the blasts while chemical experts assess the hazardous materials on site.The cause of the blasts is still not known. The warehouse is reported to have contained large quantities of the highly toxic chemical sodium cyanide. A team of 217 military toxic waste specialists have arrived in Tianjin.
- The explosions were so massive they could be seen from space, according to satellite photos released by the Japan meteorological agency. The force of the blast also prompted alarm at China’s National Earthquake Network.
- Thousands of people have been left homeless, with 6,000 people expected to spend the night in emergency shelters.Witnesses described residents near the site fleeing their homes – some dressed only in their underwear.
- The blasts occurred shortly before midnight local time (4pm GMT, 2am AEST). A shipment of so-far unidentified “dangerous goods” in a warehouse went up in flames, causing explosions so strong that they shook homes on the other side of the city and sent flaming debris arching over nearby high-rise buildings.
- Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, “urged all-out efforts to save the injured and minimize casualties”. Li Keqiang, the prime minister, gave orders for authorities “to intensify search and rescue”..
- The owners of the factory at the centre of the blasts – named as Tianjin Dongjiang Port Rui Hai International Logistics Co. Ltd – have been detained. The firm had flouted packaging standards two years ago according to inspection records.
- Authorities earlier said they had lost contact with a further 36 firefighters tackling the huge blazes. It is not clear if this includes the 12 who are confirmed to have died. Over 1,000 firefighters and 143 fire trucks were dispatched to the scene.
- Guardian reporter Fergus Ryan, who is in Tianjin, says smoke continues to billow across the city. He also reported a furthersmall explosion and fires still ablaze, with damage to buildings and cars as far as 3km from the scene.
- Greenpeace has warned that chemicals involved in the blaze could pose an ongoing threat to Tianjin residents. Beijing has played down fears that a toxic fumes are heading for the Chinese capital.