Gas leak in China forces mass evacuation
More than 12,000 were evacuated late last week when a natural gas well started leaking in southwest China.india Updated: Dec 25, 2006 11:14 IST
About 1,000 villagers remained displaced after they were driven from their homes by a gas leak in southwest China, state media reported on Monday.
They were among more than 12,000 who were evacuated late last week when a natural gas well, operated by petroleum major Sinopec, started leaking in Xuanhan county of Sichuan province, the China Daily said.
Early on Sunday, workers tried to fill in the leaking well with about 200 tonnes of cement, but failed.
The paper said officials were weighing their options, but no back-up plans had been implemented as of late in the day.
Following the initial massive evacuation, officials tested air and water in the vicinity for toxic substances, and found no significant pollution, according to the paper.
As a result, the county government Sunday permitted villagers outside a 500-meter (1,650-foot) radius surrounding the leaking gas to return home, the paper said.
The Sichuan basin, where the county is located, abounds in natural gas resources and has seen new wells opened as the fast-expanding Chinese economy struggles to find new energy sources.