An unfortunate gas leak from a chemical plant in India, kills at least 11 people and over 5,000 people have said to be affected, many of whom have collapsed to the ground while trying to evacuate the area due to the toxic vapours. This raises fears of a major industrial disaster amidst the prevailing pandemic.
A malfunctioned tank of styrene gas that belongs to a multinational company called ‘LG Polymers India Private Limited, at RR Venkatapuram village near Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, exposed a leak at around 2:30 in the morning. Hours later, scores of people were seen lying unconscious.
Amongst the dead was a child and two people who fell into a borehole while fleeing to safety, a reliable Indian News source reported.
The police further said that the death toll from the accident might increase, with at least 20 people on ventilator support. Currently ( as of 7th May 2020 14:00 GMT) , 246 people with health complications are undergoing treatment at King George Hospital.
2:30AM: Styrene gas leaks from one of the two storage tanks of the capacity of 2,000 metric tonnes at LG Polymers (India) Private Limited.
3.30 am: Visakhapatnam Police control room receives a call from a resident of R R Venkatapuram village about foul pungent smell spreading over the area, suffocating people.
3.45 am: A team of police, along with a fire tenders and an ambulance rush to Venkatapuram, about 3 km from Visakhapatnam airport.
4 am: The team cannot enter the village due to the foul smell and they alert higher officials.
4.30 am: People start coming out of their houses and rushing towards safer places like Meghadrigadda. Some of them collapse on roads due to toxicity. Police summon more ambulances and shift them to nearby hospitals and some to King George Hospital.
5 am: Senior Police officials rush to Venkatapuram. The Police squad goes around the area in vehicles blaring sirens alerting the people to come out and move to safer places. The Police use several vehicles to shift people to Simhachalam, Meghadrigadda areas. NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) team reaches accident site.
5.30 am: Gas leakage seized by the company staff and situation eases to some extent.
6 am: District Collector Vinay Chand and senior officials of the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation alert the chief minister’s camp office in Tadepalli in Amaravati and apprise the officials of the situation.
6.30 am: People continue to come out of their houses and are rushed to hospitals. Local industry department alerts state industries minister M Gautam Reddy.
8 am: Additional police forces rush to the area along with more ambulances to shift the affected people to various hospitals.
10 am: All residents of Venkatapuram and four other surrounding villages evacuated completely.
10.15 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi calls up Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy to enquire about the Visakhapatnam gas leakage mishap.
10.30 am: Jagan apprises Governor Biswabhushan Harichandan of the situation.
11.30 am: Jagan leaves for Visakhapatnam by helicopter.
12.45 pm: Jagan reaches Vizag, visits King George Hospital and calls on victims
1.30 pm: Chief minister holds official review meeting
2.30 pm: Addresses press conference where he announces ex gratia to victims’ kin and also constitutes a committee to probe the gas leak incident.
We are deeply saddened by this unfortunate incident.
Keeping the people in our thoughts and sending prayers for all.