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Panic relieved in Chongqing chlorine leak
Updated: 2004-04-17 15:31

The panic caused by the chlorine leak and explosions have been relieved and life is back to order in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality.

A senior resident is rushed to the hospital after explosions and a leak of chlorine gas in a chemical plant in Jiangbei District of Chongqing April 16, 2004.[newsphoto]
At Chongqing Normal College, a computer qualification examination was held Saturday morning. Several hundred of students were taking the test. Before entering the classroom, a student surnamed Lin told Xinhua she didn't change her plan to climb hills nearby on Sunday.

People were going shopping in the most popular shopping area, the Liberation Monument, as usual. "I know of the chlorine leak, but it has been under control. So, nothing to worry about now," said a shop owner surnamed Li.

At the Tianyuan Chemical Industry Plant in Jiangbei District where the chlorine leak occurred, firemen were still spraying sodium hydroxide liquid to neutralize the chlorine gas. Several new warning lines have been set by police around the plant.

At 9:30 a.m., Mayor Wang Hongju came to guide rescue work in the headquarters 200 meters away from the plant. Rescue teams have been giving out breakfast to evacuators in the temporary residential places.

In Jiangbei District, 2,400 people have been moved to the No. 18 Middle School and a cinema. "I had a not bad sleep last night and a good breakfast this morning. Now I am waiting to go home," said an evacuee Yang Yaping.

Air quality have returned to normal standard by Saturday morning and drinking water was not polluted, according to the municipal environmental protection bureau.

The chlorine leak occurred Thursday night which was followed by powerful explosions at about 17:57 Friday at Tianyuan Chemical Industry Plant in Jiangbei District, releasing high-concentration of highly irritating, greenish-yellow chlorine gas. Nine people have been confirmed dead or missing and three were badly injured. More than 150,000 residents have been moved out of areas within three kilometers surrounding the plant.

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