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Visakhapatnam Gas Leak Live updates: Death toll at 11; Centre asks chemical firms to exercise caution when reopening plants

Visakhapatnam LG Polymers Gas Leakage LIVE Updates: All the unconscious people and those with breathing difficulties have been admitted to the King George Hospital in the city.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: May 8, 2020 1:52:11 am
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Visakhapatnam gas leak LIVE news updates: After 11 people died due to a gas leak at a chemical factory in Andhra Pradesh’s Vishakhapatnam, the Union Home Ministry on Thursday issued an advisory for the general public about the things to be done and not be done following such an incident. According to the advisory, the exposure of styrene is through ingestion, inhalation or contact (skin). In case of contact with styrene, immediately flush eyes or skin with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes while removing contaminated clothing and shoes, it said.

Meanwhile, Union Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister D V Sadananda Gowda Thursday urged all public and private chemical makers to exercise caution and care while reopening their plants. The Centre has also decided to dispatch a special team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) from Pune. The gas leak happened at the LG Polymer plant at Gopalapatnam on the outskirts of Visakhapatnam. Workers were preparing for the reopening of the plant today when gas started leaking in the early hours. An FIR has been registered against LG Polymers and an inquiry has been ordered.

Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy announced Rs 1 crore compensation to the kin of the dead. The government will also offer jobs to people who are victims of the gas leak and the kin of the family of the dead. Prime Minister Narendra Modi took stock of the situation and assured all possible assistance to state Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy. The prime minister also chaired a meeting of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to assess the situation.

Live Blog

Visakhapatnam LG Polymers gas leak LIVE updates: At least 11 dead, thousands hospitalised; PM Modi, Y S Jagan Reddy say situation being monitored. Follow LIVE updates here

01:52 (IST)08 May 2020
Vizag gas leak: What is styrene?

What is styrene, responsible for the Vizag tragedy? Styrene is a flammable liquid that is used in the manufacturing of polystyrene plastics, fiberglass, rubber, and latex. According to Tox Town, a website run by the US National Library of Medicine, styrene is also found in vehicle exhaust, cigarette smoke, and in natural foods like fruits and vegetables. As per the US-based Environment Protection Agency (EPA), short-term exposure to the substance can result in respiratory problems, irritation in the eyes, irritation in the mucous membrane, and gastrointestinal issues. And long-term exposure could drastically affect the central nervous system and lead to other related problems like peripheral neuropathy. 

If you missed our explainer on styrene, read here

01:20 (IST)08 May 2020
Nearby villages evacuated as precautionary measure

People from nearby villages have been asked to stay away from the five kilometers radius of the factory as a precautionary measure following the gas leak at the LG Polymer plant at Gopalapatnam on the outskirts of Visakhapatnam

23:53 (IST)07 May 2020
Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka express shock over AP gas leak incident

Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra expressed shock over the gas leak incident in Andhra Pradesh's Visakhapatnam on Thursday that has claimed 11 lives and prayed for the speedy recovery of those hospitalised. The former Congress president urged party workers in the area to provide all necessary support to those affected. "I'm shocked to hear about Vizag gas leak. I urge our Congress workers and leaders in the area to provide all necessary support and assistance to those affected. My condolences to the families of those who have perished. I pray that those hospitalised make a speedy recovery," he said on Twitter.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also prayed for the recovery of those injured and hoped the government would control the situation soon. "There has been a heartbreaking incident of gas leak from a plant in Visakhapatnam. There are a number of casualties. "Hope the government will get the situation under control soon. My condolences to the family members of the dead. I pray to God for the early recovery of all the injured," she said in a tweet in Hindi. (PTI)

23:36 (IST)07 May 2020
AITUC demands inquiry into Vizag gas leak, compensation for victims

The All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) on Thursday demanded an inquiry into the Vishakhapatnam gas leak and stringent action against the guilty.
The union also demanded compensation for victims of the accident.  "AITUC demands inquiry to fix the guilt for negligence and stringent action in the LG Polymer Company gas leakage accident and also demands compensation for the deceased and sick," AITUC said in a statement.
This accident has once again brought forth the issues of occupational safety and health (OSH) not only for those who are at the workplace but also for people living in the vicinity of such plants, it said. PTI

22:50 (IST)07 May 2020
Vizag chemical plant gas leak incident needs to be fully investigated: UN chief

The gas leak from a chemical plant in Visakhapatnam, that killed at least 11 people and impacted about 1,000, needs to be fully investigated by local authorities, a spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday.  "We obviously send our condolences to the victims and hope for a quick recovery to those who have been impacted. And I think these kinds of incidents need to be fully investigated by the local authorities,� UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said at the daily press briefing. He was asked about the gas leak from the multinational L G Polymers Plant at R R Venkatapuram village near Visakhapatnam and whether the UN is involved in any way with efforts. "I'm not aware that we're involved in any way," Dujarric said. (PTI)

22:12 (IST)07 May 2020
Disturbing, heartbreaking: Sportspersons react to Vizag gas leak

Sportspersons from across the country expressed their concern over the gas leak from a chemical plant in Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam on Thursday morning. This was after eleven people, including a child, are dead and over hundreds have fallen ill following a gas leak from a chemical plant in Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam on Thursday morning. People in the Gopalapatnam area, where the chemical plant is located, complained of irritation in eyes, breathlessness, nausea, and rashes on their bodies.

22:06 (IST)07 May 2020
Cattle and birds were also knocked unconscious by the gas leak

Thursday’s incident evoked memories of Bhopal gas tragedy in 1984 when a gas leak at a factory of US chemical firm Union Carbide killed thousands.

Photo: Reuters
21:55 (IST)07 May 2020
NGT to take up Vizag gas leak case on Friday

The National Green Tribunal on Thursday took cognisance on its own about the Visakhapatnam gas leak incident killing at least 11 people and impacting about 1,000, many collapsing to the ground as they tried to escape the toxic vapours. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel will take up on Friday the matter titled 'In re: Gas Leak at LG Polymers Chemical Plant in RR Venkatapuram Village Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh'. Earlier in the day, a plea was filed seeking constitution of a high-level committee to investigate the gas leak incident. The NGO, Centre for Wildlife and Environmental Litigation Foundation, has sought the constitution of a high-level committee, comprising of judges and officers, not below the rank of Joint Secretary, to probe the incident. (PTI)

21:51 (IST)07 May 2020
Vizag chemical plant licence may get revoked if it is found flouting environmental norms: Official

The licence of the Vishakhapatnam chemical plant may get revoked if it is found flouting environmental norms, an environment ministry official said on Thursday on the gas leak incident that claimed 11 lives and impacted about 1000 people. The official said the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is looking into the matter and will soon come out with a report. "The NDMA is investigating the matter. The report should be out soon. If the plant is found flouting environment safety norms, we will cancel its licence. It is premature to say anything else right now," the official told PTI. 

20:20 (IST)07 May 2020
Questions in wake of Vizag gas leak: ‘What caused the leak, did people know they lived in vulnerable zone?’

The gas leak from factory LG Polymer on the outskirts of Visakhapatnam Thursday, which has killed 11 people so far, poses several questions, even as the Andhra Pradesh department of factories maintains that efforts are on to fully contain the vapours emanating from the 2,000-MT tank of styrene.

According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a federal public health agency of the US Department of
Health and Human Services, many factors determine if one would be harmed on being exposed to styrene. These include “the dose (how much), the duration (how long), and how you come in contact with it. You must also consider any other chemicals you are exposed to and your age, sex, diet, family traits, lifestyle, and state of health.” Read Rahul V Pisharody's report here

19:47 (IST)07 May 2020
Glitch in regfrigeration unit led to gas leak: Official

A technical glitch in the refrigeration unit attached to the two styrene tanks at a chemical plant caused the vapour leak that killed 11
people and affected around 1,000 on Thursday, a senior district official said quoting a preliminary report. The leak at the LG Polymers Limited was so intense that "only around 9.30 am could we understand what exactly it was as the thick fog that formed in the area cleared," District Collector V Vinay Chand said.

As many as 11 people, including children, were killed in the early morning gas leak, that raised fears of a serious industrial disaster. (PTI)

18:43 (IST)07 May 2020
Vizag gas leak: Company would be asked to explain, says AP Industries Minister

Andhra Pradesh Industries Minister M Goutham Reddy on Thursday said the state government is airlifting 500 tons of inhibitors, as a foolproof safety measure, to neutralize the chemical substances in the Visakhapatnam gas leak incident and that the company would be asked to explain what went wrong. The leak was contained within an hour, he said. Maintaining that the administration was taking all precautionary steps,the minister said the factory was not being operated, but personnel were trying to get it to readiness.

17:41 (IST)07 May 2020
Thick air, pungent smell: How gas leakage tragedy unfolded at Visakhapatnam’s LG Polymers plant

The leak is suspected to have been from large tanks left unattended because of the nationwide lockdown to fight COVID-19, as per news reports. “Our initial information is that workers were checking a gas storage tank when it started leaking. Only a thorough investigation will reveal what exactly happened,” Industries Minister M Goutham Reddy said.

Officials said that the early morning air was thick with the pungent-smelling gas in a five km radius. Former BJP MLA Vishnu Kumar Raju who was travelling through the area said that even though the gas leak was contained, there was a pungent smell in the air in the area. Here’s what you need to know about the gas leak in Visakhapatnam

17:10 (IST)07 May 2020
Pungent air, deaths and chaos — Visakhapatnam gas leak in pictures

Eleven people died while over hundreds fell ill following a gas leak from a chemical plant in Visakhapatnam on Thursday morning. People in the Gopalapatnam area, where the chemical plant is located, complained of irritation in eyes, breathlessness, nausea, and rashes on their bodies. See more photos here

Smoke is seen at LG Polymers plant in Visakhapatnam.
A father rushes to take his child for treatment at King George Hospital after a major chemical gas leakage at LG Polymers industry in RR Venkatapuram village, Visakhapatnam. (PTI Photo)
17:03 (IST)07 May 2020
Vizag gas leak: Plant produced stuff used to make disposable plastic cutlery

LG Polymers India, the company behind the deadly styrene gas leak in Visakhapatnam that left at least nine dead and hundreds hospitalised, is a subsidiary of leading South Korean chemical firm LG Chem that had entered India in 1997 through the acquisition of a local company. The Vizag plant manufactures polystyrene (PS) that finds wide utility in the food-service industry as rigid trays and containers, disposable utensils, and foamed cups, plates and bowls.

The company, according to its website, was established in 1961 as 'Hindustan Polymers' by the Shriram Group for manufacturing PS and its co-polymers at Visakhapatnam. It got merged with MC Dowell & Co Ltd of UB Group in 1978. (PTI)

16:29 (IST)07 May 2020
NDRF’s special team to fly to Vizag after PM holds meeting over gas tragedy

As the Visakhapatnam gas leak death toll reached 11 with at least 25 people admitted to hospitals in critical condition, the Centre has decided to dispatch a special team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) from Pune.

The Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) emergency team is specialised in handing chemical disasters and will be tasked with first plugging the breach in the LG Polymers plant from where the gas is still leaking. A team of chemical and medical experts are also being flown in to the port city, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) member Kamal Kishore said. Read more here

16:25 (IST)07 May 2020
Tamil Nadu CM condoles death of people in Vizag gas leak

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Thursday condoled the death of 11 people in a chemical leak in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and prayed for the early recovery of those affected. Palaniswami said he was grieved to learn of the death of many people following chemical leak from a polymer plant at a village near Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. He condoled the deaths of people and extended his sympathies to the bereaved.

16:04 (IST)07 May 2020
Visakhapatnam gas leak affects movement of at least 9 Shramik Special trains

The gas leak incident in Andhra Pradesh's Visakhapatnam on Thursday has affected the movement of trains from the Simhachalam North railway station, including at least nine Shramik Special Trains ferrying stranded migrant workers to their home states, the railways said.

Eleven people have died and 1,000 others exposed to styrene vapour that leaked from a chemical plant in Vishakhapatnam in the early hours of Thursday and quickly spread to villages in a five-kilometre radius.

Staff at the Simhachalam North railway station, which is near the chemical plant LG Polymers started feeling suffocated and burning sensation in the eyes soon after the leak. Trains crossing the railway station stopped from 8:35 am to 12 noon. This affected movement of a number of trains, including 24 goods trains in 'Up' direction and 12 trains in the 'Down' direction.

15:54 (IST)07 May 2020
Chandrababu Naidu seeks PMO's permission for air travel from Hyderabad to Vizag

TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu today requested the Prime Minister's Office to allow him to travel by flight from Hyderabad to Visakhapatnam to help those affected by the gas leak from a chemical plant. The request comes at a time when all domestic and international flights, except cargo and those engaged in essential and emergency services, are suspended due to the lockdown. The former Andhra Pradesh chief minister said a "great misfortune" has befallen the people of Visakhapatnam due to styrene gas leakage from LG Polymers. Naidu said he is obliged to visit the district as a former chief minister and as the leader of the opposition in the state assembly. The gas leak has left at least six people dead and scores of people are hospitalised. Rescue operations are underway. "I request you to grant me permission for air travel from Hyderabad to Visakhapatnam to Hyderabad by flight no VT-VKR," Naidu said in a letter to the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, P K Mishra.

15:45 (IST)07 May 2020
Vizag gas leak: What is styrene gas?

A gas leak, reminiscent of the 1984 Bhopal tragedy, has claimed at least 11 lives and affected thousands of residents in five villages in Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. The source of the leak was a styrene plant owned by South Korean electronics giant LG, located at RRV Puram near Gopalapatnam, about 15 kms from the coast city. Initial reports indicate that several people from the surrounding villages — RRV Puram, Venkatapuram, BC Colony, Padmapuram and Kamparapalem — fell unconscious on the roads. While six died due to prolonged exposure to the gas, another two died while trying to escape from the leak.

Styrene is a flammable liquid that is used in the manufacturing of polystyrene plastics, fiberglass, rubber, and latex. According to Tox Town, a website run by the US National Library of Medicine, styrene is also found in vehicle exhaust, cigarette smoke, and in natural foods like fruits and vegetables. Click here to know more

Visakhapatnam gas leak, Vizag gas leak, LG Polymers gas leak, chemical gas leakage at Vizag, Vizag LG polymers gas leak, India news, Indian Express Visakhapatnam LG Polymers Gas Leakage Live updates: The gas leakage was reported at around 2:30 am. (ANI)

Visakhapatnam LG Polymers Gas Leakage Live updates:

Residents complained that the gas leakage, which reportedly started at around 2:30 am from the plant at RR Venkatapuram near Naiduthota area, caused burning sensation in the eyes, rashes on the bodies, and extreme difficulty in breathing.

“We woke up to the smell of gas. When we went outside, the whole air was filled with gas. It entered our homes and caused breathing problems and burning sensation in the lungs,” said DVSS Ramana, a resident of Naiduthota. “We are being evacuated. We are going to our relative’s place,” added Ramana, who has two children aged 8 and 12.

Industries Minister M Goutham Reddy said that the factory was to reopen today after the lockdown. “We have issued guidelines and protocol to all industries for the safe reopening of factories. Our initial information is that workers were checking a gas storage tank when it started leaking. Only a thorough investigation will reveal what exactly happened,” Reddy said.

Emergency services personnel who were evacuating people also fell unconscious because of the gas leak. Many children have been affected. Officials said that they have not been able to contact anyone at the LG polymers unit.

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