Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Monday, January 05, 2004
Death toll rises to 243 in gas blowout in SW China
The death toll from the gas blowout in Chongqing Municipality, southwest China, has risen to 243 after 10 more severely poisoned victims died in hospital, the rescue headquarters announced Sunday, Jan. 4.
The death toll from the gas blowout in Chongqing Municipality, southwest China, has risen to 243 after 10 more severely poisoned victims died in hospital, the rescue headquarters announced Sunday night.
Officials at the headquarters said 396 people were receiving treatment, 27 of them in critical condition.
The gas field in Kaixian County, operated by China National Petroleum Corporation, is 337 kilometers northeast of Chongqing. The tragedy, the worst of its kind in China, occurred at 10 p.m. on Dec. 23, when a well blew out suddenly, releasing a high concentration of natural gas and sulfurated hydrogen.
More than 9,000 people were poisoned and nearly 60,000 people were evacuated from nearby homes.
Some evacuees have returned home since the well was sealed on Dec. 27.
Nine schools that were closed after the accident had resumed normal operations, said Jiang Bocheng, director of the county's education commission.
All the bodies had been claimed, and the compensation for the victims was still being processed, said Chen Caifan, deputy magistrate of the county.
The county government has received donations worth more than 11million yuan (1.33 million US dollars).