There seems to be no end of troubles happening in China. After the immense stock exchange crash and the devaluation of the Yuen, an earth-shattering blast in Tianjin killed at least a hundred people and injured around 700, whereby several dozen people are still unaccounted for, most of which were firefighters. The storage facility, which housed hazardous goods, exploded like an atomic bomb and levelled half the city, destroying all nearby buildings and property. There are no proper estimates of the damages, but the value of restructuring what has been lost is measured in billions of Pounds. The blast could be observed from space orbit and it coloured the sky in the vicinity of the blast blood red.
The storage facility, owned by Ruihai Logistics, is an authorised storage facility with valid certificates. It did not only have permission to store explosive materials, but highly toxic ones as well. Meanwhile, toxic fumes have been noted present all over the blast site and very much in the city as well, most worrying is the detection of sodium cyanide, chemical warfare specialists supplied by the military are scouting the ground zero area all donned in hazmat suits, creating a completely doomsday-like scenario.
Due to the blast, several major manufacturing plants have suspended all operations, such as the FAW Toyota Motor Co Ltd. and John Deere, both of which are not only mourning the dead, but have plenty of injured workers to deal with as well. While Toyota estimates to be operational later in the week, John Deere suspended all activities until further notice.
Tianjin is a megalopolis, a huge city that has the fourth-largest population of all cities in China and has had a booming industry and manufacturing expansion of late. The world’s fastest supercomputer is located there, in the National Supercomputing Centre of Tianjin, called Tianhe-1A. The explosion did blow the windows of the Centre, even collapsing an internal ceiling, yet the computer remained unscathed. The local GDP is surpassing 750 billion Yuen and is one of the largest in the entire country. Tianjin also houses EADS Airbus manufacturing facilities and the first and now most prominent economic and technological zone called TEDA, but also houses over a billion tonnes of petroleum within the municipality.
A few hundred metres away from the Tianjin port, where the blast occurred, a large residential building complex is located, where many of the injured were peacefully sleeping at 11 PM local time. The buildings were badly damaged by the explosions, all windows are broken and plenty of people have lost almost everything they own in the blast. Currently thousands of residents are protesting and requesting that the government compensate the victims for the losses, that the government provide remedies for the contaminations of ground water and air, that such storage facilities be banned from being located near to residential buildings and so on. Such a public demonstration is a rare thing in China, but the Chinese government has been very understanding in this case, where even the state controlled media outlets side with the public and demand that something be done.
The Tianjin municipality houses around 12 million people, ten of which are permanent residents. The blast occurred in the port area, in a warehouse building which employed around 70 people and stored hazardous chemicals, compressed air, flammable and corrosive substances, oxidizing agents and toxic chemicals, including calcium carbide, sodium nitrate and potassium nitrate. Due to the toxicity and pollution of air in the vicinity of the blast area, more than six thousand people were evacuated. It will take years to rebuild and restore the city of Tianjin back to normal. Meanwhile, the GDP of China has to suffer another beating, while one of the main contributors, the Tianjin municipality, recovers from this horrible event.