Vizag gas leak an eerie reminder of Bhopal gas tragedy
The people in areas around the chemical factory in Andhra Pradesh woke up early on Thursday with a foul smell, which was from the Styrene gas leaked from the plant owned by South Korean company LG Chemicals.
Video news agency ANI showed emergency workers in the area rushing to help victims, some of whom appeared to be listless and disoriented.
A number of victims lay unconscious streetside, as some volunteers fanned them and others rushed to carry them into ambulances. Nine people were killed in the gas leak.
“I personally helped more than 15 people get to an ambulance who had tried to run away from the village but dropped down a few metres away,” Local revenue official B V Rani told news agency Reuters.
Areas within an approximately 3-kilometre radius of the plant were vulnerable, the municipal corporation said in a tweet. Around 1,500 people had been evacuated, mostly from a neighbouring village, authorities said.
The scenes were reminiscent of the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster which killed thousands of people. At least 30 tonnes of methyl isocyanate gas was released from the Union Carbide pesticide plant in the Madhya Pradesh capital in one of the worst industrial disasters of the 20th century.
The incident occurred on the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984, and affected more than 6,00,000 workers and nearby inhabitants.
Scores of people had left their homes in a hurry as gas started to spread. It mostly affected the low-lying areas of the city and led to decay of vegetables, fruits and other eatables.
Doctors said the most common immediate health issues were severe lung injury, often resulting in death, and corneal damage. Many lost their eyesight.
One of the most common long-term impact has been fibrosis of the lung and respiratory crippling, said doctors. A Belstein Test conducted in 2015 found the water from 240-foot-deep borewells in Bhopal to be contaminated due to the gas leak referred to many as Hiroshima-like tragedy.
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