Sunday, December 28, 2003

China Gas Well Disaster

An industrial disaster in China approaching Bhopal-scale dimenesions
The government raised the official death toll by 7, to 198, but did not give details of the additional deaths.

The government said that 9,185 people had been treated for gas poisoning and other injuries, and that 431 were still hospitalized, with 17 in critical condition. Newspaper photos showed children with red faces and their eyes swollen shut from chemical burns.

The death toll was high even by the standards of accident-prone Chinese industry, where thousands of people are killed every year in coal mine explosions and other disasters. Two of those killed were gas field employees, the news agency said.

As many papers report, China has a notoriously poor work safety record.
More than 120,000 people died in work-related accidents from January to November this year, the official China Daily said earlier this month.

In its annual safety report for 2002, PetroChina said the company suffered 179 accidents with 38 deaths, including a hydrogen sulfide toxic accident that killed five people.