By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
The death toll, confirmed by officials, came after Sunday’s blast rocked Shiyan, a city of more than 3 million people, in central Hubei province.
At least 12 people were killed, and of the more than 150 people hospitalized, 37 were said to be in a serious condition, reports said.
The blast ripped through one of the city’s vegetable markets filled with shoppers and residents eating breakfast, an eyewitness told state-run Global Times publication. “I heard a loud bang and immediately ducked under the table, thinking it was an earthquake,” a man who owns a small restaurant near the explosion site told the newspaper.
Social media showed the devastation in an area already impacted by disasters. Footage showed rescue workers in orange jumpsuits working through the wreckage of flattened houses.
The latest explosion in Shiyan came a day after eight people reportedly died, and three others were injured when toxic methyl formate leaked from a vehicle. That incident happened at a chemical facility in the southwestern city of Guiyang.
Further investigations were still ongoing.
Weak safety standards, poor maintenance, and corruption have led to several industrial disasters in China, according to investigators.
In 2015, a massive blast at a chemical warehouse in Tianjin, northeastern China, killed 173 people, mostly firefighters and police officers.
Authorities said illegal construction and unsafe storage of materials were to blame, reports said.
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