Chinese President Xi Jinping yesterday ordered local governments to prevent any more industrial disasters after a chemical plant blast left 47 people dead, injured hundreds and flattened an industrial park in the latest such catastrophe to hit the country.
Thursday's explosion in the eastern city of Yancheng, Jiangsu province was one of the worst industrial disasters to hit China, with Xi acknowledging that the country has seen a rash of major accidents in recent years.
Xi -- who is on a state visit to Italy -- urged "all-out efforts" to rescue those trapped and to identify the cause of the accident "as early as possible", according to the official news agency Xinhua. The State Council, China's cabinet, has established a team to investigate the explosion, state media said.
The explosion toppled several buildings in the industrial park and caused a huge fire that raged through the night, while rescuers scrambled to find survivors in the wreckage of the plant owned by Tianjiayi Chemical, a firm with 195 employees established in 2007 that mainly produces raw chemical materials, including anisole, a highly flammable compound.
More than 600 people have received medical treatment following the blast, said the city government on its official Twitter-like Weibo account. Among them, at least 90 are seriously injured. Hundreds of rescuers have been dispatched to the scene, local authorities said, and some 4,000 people have been evacuated from the blast site.