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Weather blamed for Jilin coal fume poisoning
By He Na in Changchun and Li Dapeng in Fuzhou (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-02-18 08:11

Low pressure, rain and high humidity might have caused the deaths of 16 residents in coal stove asphyxiation cases in Yanbian, Jilin Province, since Monday, according to initial investigations.

Such weather conditions tend to keep carbon monoxide close to the ground, experts said.

Patients receive treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning in a hospital in Yanbian, Northeast China's Jilin Province February 16, 2006. [Xinhua]
Figures from the Jilin Meteorological Observatory showed that from last November to February 12, there were 47 days with low atmospheric pressure and 84 days with light winds.

On Friday, there were no more reported deaths. Four of the eight critically ill patients were reported to be in stable conditions, and most of the 291 patients have been discharged from hospital, said officials with the Yanbian health department.

According to the provincial health department, of the victims, 12 were found dead at their homes, and four others died either in hospital or during emergency treatment.

The poisoning cases happened in several residential areas in six counties of Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in Northeast China.

Wang Xiaoming, deputy head of Jilin provincial observatory, said many people do not know how to use coal stoves correctly and pay little attention to the potential dangers. "You must always keep the room well ventilated and make sure chimneys are unobstructed," Wang said.

In North China, rural residents and urban dwellers in old residential buildings still use coal stoves to cook and keep warm in winter.

In another accident, a 1,499-ton Panamanian ship sank on Thursday night near Dongjia Island of Pingtan in East China's Fujian Province, leaving four dead and 31 missing. Two sailors were rescued.

The Fujian Maritime Search and Rescue Centre said the accident occurred at 11:28 pm while the 84.8-metre "Heng Da 1" was on its way to Indonesia. It had a crew of 37 sailors.

(China Daily 02/18/2006 page1)

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