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9 DEAD at least, HUNDREDS in hospital after gas leak TIED TO PANDEMIC LOCKDOWN at India plant

At least eight people have been killed and several hundred hospitalized after a gas leak at a chemicals plant on the east coast of India, police said Thursday.

They said that the gas had leaked out of two 5,000-ton tanks that had been unattended due to India’s coronavirus lockdown in place since late March.

“We can confirm at least five deaths right now. More will be confirmed later. At least 70 people in the nearby hospitals are in an unconscious state and overall 200 to 500 locals are still getting treatment (at the hospitals),” said police official Swaroop Rani in Visakhapatnam.

The plant operated by LG Polymers is located in the outskirts of Visakhapatnam, an industrial port city in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The city and the surrounding area are home to around five million people.

The gas “was left there because of the lockdown. It led to a chemical reaction and heat was produced inside the tanks, and the gas leaked because of that,” Rani, an assistant commissioner, told AFP.

“We received an emergency call from the local villagers around 3:30 in the morning today. They said there was some gas in the air,” she said.

“We reached there immediately. One could feel the gas in the air and it was not possible for any of us to stay there for more than a few minutes. Prepared rescue workers started working from around 4:00 a.m.”

Header: Staff attend to children affected by a gas leak from an LG Polymers plant at the King George hospital in Visakhapatnam on May 7, 2020.(AFP)

Original: TOI – AFP