Saturday, 15 August 2015

Lack of Trust Pervades

People remember the victims of the Tianjin blasts
In Hong Kong there's lots of skepticism of what is really being told about the Tianjin explosions, particularly the number of dead.

As of today the total is 104, but many question the figure, saying that because the blasts on Wednesday were the equivalent to 24 tonnes of TNT, that there should be dozens more if not hundreds who perished in the disaster.

But it sounds like crews are still trying to contain the fires and figure out what chemicals exploded and which ones are still left lying around in the massive warehouse. Apparently the records of the chemicals were destroyed in the blast -- a big lesson there -- and now the authorities are going through the tedious task of going through transport records.

However, relatives of loved ones who are missing after the blast want to know what happened. Today some tried to barge in on a press conference, but were unable to enter, and they could be heard shouting from outside.

Anxious relatives want to know where their loved ones are
"Nobody has told us anything, we're in the dark, there is no news at all," screamed a middle-aged woman, as she was dragged away by security personnel.

Earlier Tianjin residents wondered if the government is telling them the truth, saying the air was fine to breathe, but many reported having headaches and dizziness; some resorted to wearing masks to try to mitigate breathing in possibly toxic chemicals.

But now those who were living within 3km of the warehouse were told to evacuate the area because the winds changed direction from moving towards Bohai Bay, to now back inland.

Xinhua also reported seven or eight fresh blasts that caused new fires to break out at the facility, but did not give further details.

There was another bright spot today, after a firefighter was found alive yesterday, a many in his 40s was found in a shipping container, 50m from the blast "core zone".

Fires are still smouldering in the warehouse facility
Staff from sodium cyanide producers were brought to the site to best determine how to deal with the situation, and an army of 200 nuclear and biochemical experts from the Chinese military were deployed to the area.

Unless someone is an expert in chemical reactions and can easily analyze what chemicals were involved in the explosions, 200 experts aren't going to be of much help if they only know theoretical equations.

It will take several more days to figure out what just happened in this warehouse facility and also possibly find human remains of those missing.

If the government is not transparent about how the explosion happened and punish those involved, this will be yet another thorn in its side as it tries to brush the incident under the carpet, like Tiananmen Square, the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, the Wenzhou train collision in 2011 and now this.

How much more can people bear?

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