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Relief work underway after violent warehouse blast in Yangon

(Xinhua)

09:08, December 30, 2011

YANGON, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- Relief work for the victims has been underway since Thursday afternoon hours after violent fire- caused warehouse blast in Yangon before dawn on the day.

Relief aid is pouring in by private donors, government staff, armed forces members, artists, red cross members and the social organization of Free Funeral Services Society.

In the deadly incident, 17 people including five women and five firefighters were killed and 83 seriously injured, the state radio confirmed.

The earthshaking loud explosion with the privatized Myitarmon warehouse in Katoeseik ward in Mingalataungnyunt township totally hit and destroyed over 100 houses and 27 warehouses as well as three fire engines.

More than 1,100 people from 238 households were left homeless and were temporarily accommodated in relief camps set up in a monastery, according to the authorities.

The explosion scene lies 5 kilometers east of downtown Yangon and the blast was loudly heard 10 kilometers away from the scene.

The explosion took place at around 02:00 a.m. local time shortly after a fire raged a warehouse stored with electrical goods at 01:30 a.m.. Another nearby warehouse storing medicines caught fire soon after. The explosion was caused by still other warehouses storing chemicals, according to initial assessments.

However, the exact cause of the explosion is under investigation.

The five-hour fire was brought under control at 06:40 a.m..

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