Massive Tianjin blasts leave 44 dead, at least 21 missing

Xinhua News Agency
Northern China explosion

TIANJIN, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- Forty-four people were confirmed dead, and at least 21 others remain missing after massive warehouse explosions ripped through north China's port city of Tianjin on Wednesday night.

A total of 521 people have been hospitalized, including 52 critically injured, according to a latest briefing at a conference held on Thursday afternoon on the rescue work.

Hundreds of firefighters are still battling the blaze.

Most of the patients suffered burns, bruises, bone fractures and injuries related to the shockwave.

The rescue headquarter previously said 66 people were critically injured. The number was reduced to 52 after medical specialists from Beijing better assessed their patients.

The Tianjin fire brigade said the warehouse contained dangerous goods, making the fire unpredictable and dangerous to approach.

A firefighter told Xinhua that a dozen fire engines have driven to the site, and more firemen will enter to put out the flames and make way for search and rescue efforts.

Xinhua reporters saw at least 200 armed police officers around the warehouse.

Lu Yun, head of Teda Hospital, which admitted about 150 injured people, told Xinhua that most of the injuries were from broken glass or stones. Some of the injuries are serious.

A list of injured people admitted to the hospital shows 38 patients ranging from 19 to 63 years old were being treated in the hospital's intensive care unit and osteology, neurology, surgery and other departments as of 9:00 a.m. Thursday.

Schools and other sites near the warehouse opened on Thursday to help the injured. An aquarium further away also put out a statement on Thursday, offering its service center, washrooms and parking lot to the public around the clock for the rest of this week, to help aid distribution and blood donations.

Rail links connecting downtown Tianjin to the Binhai New Area were suspended after shockwaves from the blast damaged the Donghai Road Terminal.

The office building housing Chinese supercomputer Tianhe-1, one of the world's fastest supercomputers, suffered damage. Sources at Tianhe-1 told Xinhua the computer is not damaged, but they have shut down some of its operations as a precaution.

Tianhe-1 provides data services to more than 300 organizations across China, including several universities and banks.

Volunteers have arrived at hospitals for blood donation, and taxi drivers and private car owners offered help to transport the wounded to hospitals. Several hotels have provided free accommodation to residents displaced by the blast.