Explosion at Produce Market Kills at Least 12 in China

A gas explosion at a produce market killed at least 12 people and injured 138 others, 37 of them severely, in central China on Sunday, the local authorities said.

The cause of the blast, which took place at around 6:40 a.m. in the city of Shiyan, in Hubei Province, was still under investigation, according to the local government.

Photographs published by official media showed bricks and debris strewn in the street and extensive damage to nearby buildings. Rescue workers in helmets and orange suits worked to free people trapped in the rubble.

Local news reports said that when the explosion took place, people had been buying and selling produce and eating breakfast at the market, which is in a residential area in the city’s Zhangwan District. City officials said 913 households and merchants had been evacuated from the scene.

The governor of Hubei, Wang Zhonglin, rushed to Shiyan to direct rescue efforts, the authorities said. The provincial Communist Party secretary, Ying Yong, called for gas pipelines, chemical factories, power plants and older residential neighborhoods across Hubei to be inspected for safety risks.

China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, said there were “profound” lessons to be learned from the incident, according to a readout that was published Sunday evening by the Xinhua state news agency.

Taking stock of “hidden dangers” and being on the lookout for major emergencies would help create a “favorable atmosphere,” Mr. Xi said, ahead of the July 1 centenary of the Chinese Communist Party’s founding. The government is using the anniversary to hammer home the message that only by following the party can China fortify its status in the world.

In recent years, deadly blasts in industrial zones have led the Chinese authorities to become stricter about enforcing safety rules. In 2015, explosions at a chemical storage facility in Tianjin, a northern port city, killed more than 170 people.

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Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

A technology enthusiast and a passionate writer in the field of information technology, cyber security, and blockchain

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