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At least 50 dead and 500 injured as blasts shake Chinese city

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Photo Credit: BBC

Beijing: At least 50 people were killed and over 500 injured as thunderous blasts tore through a warehouse in China’s Tianjin city, triggering frightening leaping flames. The explosions — like an earthquake — gutted over 2,500 cars and caused widespread destruction.

Photo Credit: www.siasat.com
Photo Credit: www.siasat.com

Authorities didn’t say what caused the ear-splitting blasts on Wednesday night but quickly rushed 214 military specialists who handle both nuclear and biochemical materials, media reports said on Thursday.

Twelve fire-fighters were among those killed in the horror in Tianjin, over 100 km from here. A total of 521 people were hospitalized, including 71 who were in critical condition. Over 20 people were missing, Xinhua news agency reported.

Residents of Tianjin — home to 14.72 million people — said the blasts were like a “big fireball” and they felt like a “bomb that just exploded”, forcing them to flee to the streets, terrified. Many were wounded.

More than 1,000 fire fighters and 151 fire engines battled the blaze. Drones were dispatched to the site, said officials.

Zhang, who lives a 10-minute-drive from the site, said the blasts turned the night sky seem like day, reported China Daily.

A video clip showed thick smoke covering the sky, and shortly after fires raged. There were several loud bangs.

At the blasts site, 2,748 imported Volkswagen vehicles burned, covered in layers of ash, China Business News reported.

The explosions were so massive that they triggered seismic activity.

Authorities said fire fighters first arrived at the Tianjin Port on Wednesday night following a report that several containers were on fire.

Zhou Tian, head of Tianjin’s fire department, said the second batch of fire fighters reached after a gap of 10 minutes — and roughly 14 minutes before the first explosion.

The first explosion occurred at about 11.30 p.m. followed by a more powerful blast, and a series of smaller explosions, BBC reported, adding that the blasts caused a massive fireball.

The warehouse contained “dangerous” goods and their volatility made the fire “unpredictable and dangerous to approach”, said the rescuers.

Residents recalled the night’s horror.

Du Wenjun said he never imagined he would see a “mushroom cloud” outside the window of his home.

Zhao Lirong, a 35-year-old businesswoman, was asleep when the blast blew off the windows and doors of her apartment, hitting her head, her son’s neck and her husband’s feet.

Blood stains were splattered on the floors of hospitals that received injured patients.

People rushed onto the streets in their pajamas and frantically made calls to find the well-being of their loved ones.

Most patients suffered burns, bruises, bone fractures and injuries related to the shock-wave.

“It’s all black and smog, I can’t see anything inside. Some of my colleagues had even worse injuries,” an injured fire fighter told Xinhua.

Smog billowed from the site. In a nearby apartment complex, the balconies of many apartment buildings were shattered.

The military also organized 130 men to assist with the rescue operation, including the use of drones and piloting helicopters to observe the site and drop water on the flames.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang vowed to investigate the accident.

Xi ordered authorities to spare no effort to treat the injured, search for the missing and contain the fire.

Li urged authorities to intensify search and rescue operations.

(IANS)

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Chinese Behemoth BBK Group Dominates Xiaomi in Smartphone Market

This year, the group has infused another brand called iQOO in the competitive Indian market that will be the first

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Xiaomi
In comparison, Xiaomi grew 5 per cent year-over-year in 2019 driven by expansion in the offline and strong performance of its Redmi Note series. Wikimedia Commons

Chinese behemoth BBK Group, the parent company of OPPO, Vivo, Realme and OnePlus brands, dominated the India smartphone market with 37 per cent share for the full year 2019, compared to 28 per cent of Xiaomi, reveals latest data from Counterpoint Research.

In the fourth quarter of 2019, the BBK Group captured a mammoth 43 per cent share in the India smartphone market while Xiaomi had 27 per cent share.

While Vivo’s market share grew to 16 per cent in the calendar year 2019 from 10 per cent in 2018, realme’s share grew to 10 per cent in 2019 from 3 per cent in 2018, OPPO’s share grew to 9 per cent in 2019 from 8 per cent in 2018. With 29 per cent growth in market share, OnePlus also became one of the fastest growing smartphone brands in India in 2019.

While Realme grew a massive 255 per cent in 2019, Vivo registered 76 per cent growth and OPPO 28 per cent, In comparison, Xiaomi grew 5 per cent year-over-year in 2019 driven by expansion in the offline and strong performance of its Redmi Note series.

“India now has emerged as the biggest market for Xiaomi, surpassing its home market China in 2019. However, the growth rate has declined to single-digit as Xiaomi is now serving a much larger installed base in India,” according to the data.

Vivo’s stunning growth in 2019 was driven by good performance of its budget-segment series. “Also, by successfully pivoting to online and aggressively positioning the S series in the offline segment with new features, it managed to make a dent in Rs 15,000-Rs 20,000 segment,” said Counterpoint.

Overall, in the fourth quarter of 2019, the BBK group captured a mammoth 43 per cent share in the India smartphone market. Interesting here to note is that the BBK Group does not seem to be resting on its laurels.

This year, the group has infused another brand called iQOO in the competitive Indian market that will be the first, 5G-ready premium device in the country and would take on Xiaomi’s new sub-brand POCO.

Xiaomi
In the fourth quarter of 2019, the BBK Group captured a mammoth 43 per cent share in the India smartphone market while Xiaomi had 27 per cent share. Wikimedia Commons

The iQOO brand — which already has six devices in its portfolio in China with the most recent one being the iQOO Neo 855 Racing — would work as a separate legal entity in the country. With this brand, the BBK Group will now have five brands — OnePlus, Vivo, OPPO, Realme and now iQOO — to take on its rivals in India in 2020.

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“We aim to sell 10 lakh iQOO devices next month in India. It will be 100 per cent ‘make in India’ premium device focused on strong performance, design innovation and 5G-ready,” Gagan Arora, Director-Marketing, iQOO India, recently told IANS. (IANS)