Daily Bloom is the shortform blog of New Bloom, covering breaking news events as they occur in real-time. 

Death toll in Tianjin explosion rises to 44, with 12 firefighters dead. More than 500 have been hospitalized.  On August 12 2015, at approximately 11:23 PM, a chemical explosion set off waves of explosions throughout the city of Tianjin in China. The magnitude of the first explosion was akin to about 3 tons of TNT at a 2.3 Richter scale. However, the real destruction came 30 seconds later at a 2.9 Richter scale, equivalent to 21 tons of TNT.

11857717_10154685845386959_1320433133_nSatellite image of Tianjin

As of now, there has been no official responses from the government, but an official press conference is said to be held today at 4:30 PM. Will what emerges be truth or attempts to cover up the truth? Much information circulated on Chinese social media before being removed by the government within a fifteen minute period. 

Tianjin is the biggest sea port in the Northern part of China, it’s importance to China’s economy is indubitable. Tianjin is also one of the largest centers of chemical production in China. The initial explosion came out of a warehouse situated at Tianjin Haibin Cargo 7. The owner of this warehouse is a logistics company identified as Tianjin Dongjiang Port Rui Hai International Logistics Co. Ltd. The chemical components are:

  • Compressed and liquified gas
  • Flammable liquids
  • Flammable solids
  • Oxidizers and organic peroxides.
  • Toxic chemicals
  • Corrosive substances

After the explosions, rumours scattered around claiming that the poisonous fumes that may arise is life threatening. Reportedly, foreign reporters have begun vomiting because of air quality, although officials claimed there were no problems with air quality.

11075314_10154685853076959_1116283533_nDamaged doorframes from the explosion

As citizens of Tianjin stayed up late at night waiting for further procurement and announcement from the government, nothing was said. The incident happened at 11:30 PM on the 12th, but official related news on the issue came out at 3:52am next morning . Where were the officials during this 4 hours interval?

The shocks of the wave blew through the city, as the radius of destruction extended several kilometers, blasting through the walls, doors, and windows of residential and commercial areas. The impact was so large that the mushroom cloud that emerged from the blast was captured on satellite, further affirming the magnitude of this explosion. As claimed by a witness wandering at a store several kilometers from the site on Weibo, “I was purchasing some electronic goods when the huge ball of fire emerged behind me and exploded.” 

Properties and cars were completely demolished, and the roads were jammed with traffic of people trying to leave the destruction radius. As noted by many citizens in China, neighboring clinics and hospitals are packed with the people injured from this incident, yet, it is uncertain if these hospitals and clinics are safe from possible future waves of explosion. As of 9:30 AM on August 13, an explosion occurred again at the site, leaving doubts as to whether rescue and search efforts ought to continue.

11872671_10154685848236959_1962652472_nThe scene of Tianjin in the morning after fires have been put out

What astonishes the world, and dumbfounds the Chinese community is that this is the fifth chemical explosion in 4 months. On April 6th, PX chemical explosion occurred in Fujian, on April 21st, the Jiangsu Nanjing Chemical explosion on April 25th, Jiangxi Taipu explosion on May 5th, Shandong Chemical explosion on July 26th, Tianjin Tangku Developmental area explosion on August 12th.

Western media is reporting on events, but largely have reported the events as a chemical explosion only.  CNN broadcasts were also interrupted after CNN photographers attempted to take pictures of the corpse of a firefighter.

Possible conspiracy theories have been circulated as the morning explosion seems to inform the public that it might not simply be an accident. It may be a terrorist attack conducted on China, given that the proximity of Tianjin to Beijing, as well as the timing and circumstances of this explosion, given the country will be commenting its 70 year anniversary on the victory of the Sino-Japanese on September 3rd. Currently, Beijing is stepping up security measures around the Tiananmen area, and administrative areas, and all flights are cancelled on that day to ensure that the commemoration proceeds smoothly.

It is a bad day for China. Let us pray and hope the people in China will pull through this.


Author: New Bloom
Photo Credit: Weibo

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