Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Shattered glass, broken promises a year after Tianjin blasts
By Benjamin HAAS
Tianjin, China (AFP) Aug 11, 2016


Surrounded by countless broken windows, gutted offices and mountains of cigarette butts, Qin Tao is trying to rebuild his life and business a year after giant explosions rocked the Chinese city of Tianjin.

At least 165 people were killed in the blast, which devastated a swathe of the northern port, and 12 months on much of his office building -- around a kilometre away from the epicentre -- looks almost the same as it did a day afterwards.

"First the neighbourhood officials came and took notes and pictures, then the district government officials came and did the same, then the police and then city officials," said Qin, 36. "But still I haven't heard anything, nothing has been done."

In the late hours of last August 12, a fire broke out at a chemical warehouse owned by Rui Hai International Logistics.

When it exploded it sent a monumental fireball soaring towards the heavens, mangling structures kilometres away -- captured by social media users in what rapidly became the country's highest-profile industrial accident in years.

Fears of toxic pollution were rife, with cyanide levels in the disaster zone far above national limits, and it took several days before a visit by Premier Li Keqiang -- normally among the second wave of responders in China's official choreography for disasters.

In the aftermath, officials pledged to convert the blast site to a park and renovate the area, part of Tianjin's free trade zone that Chinese officials were promoting in Europe last month.

But a year later the blast site is still inaccessible, with a temporary blue metal wall ringing the perimeter.

Patrolling police prevented journalists getting a closer look, with a SWAT car parked on a highway overlooking the area to discourage anyone from stopping.

A brand new school next to the site sat empty and businesses were dark and locked, occasional groups of migrant workers the only signs of civilian life on the streets.

- Plunged into debt -

Before the explosions, Qin was preparing to open a logistics company, finally achieving the Chinese dream of becoming his own boss.

Unlike most businesses, he and his fellow tenants at the Fortune World Trade Center bought their offices, which are now rendered worthless.

They mounted a protest in May, hanging giant five-storey-high banners on a tower declaring: "Injustice! We are still waiting for a resolution, what a tragedy".

Police took them down within hours, but there was no official response.

"I've plunged into debt since the government won't help us," Qin told AFP. "I'm still paying off the loan from when I bought the office, but we never even started business, there's nothing I can do but hope to be saved."

Those whose homes were close to the blast site have fared marginally better. Authorities offered homeowners of one compound roughly 800 metres from the epicentre a government buy-back of their flats or funding for repairs.

But the sums on offer were not enough for either, according to Wei, a resident who would only give her surname.

"The price the government offered to buy the homes was too low, it wasn't enough to buy another apartment in the city," she told AFP. Many chose the repair option, she said, but the compensation only covered about 10 percent of her costs.

- 'Now we have nothing' -

Trucks still roll into the port area, but local businesses are suffering.

"Since the explosion business has dropped significantly," said Xuan, a manager at a firm in the same complex as Qin, who would only give his surname. "Chemical companies like ours have been affected especially hard, and volumes are down at the port."

Official statistics tell a different story. According to the Tianjin government, overall cargo volume at the port in the first half of 2016 was up 18 percent from the same period a year earlier -- before the explosion.

The blast remains a sensitive subject.

Afterwards, the official Xinhua news agency reported one of Rui Hai's owners was the son of the former port police chief, and the other a former executive at state-owned chemical company Sinochem.

Those connections helped the company get permits despite numerous safety violations, Xinhua reported.

Corruption is rife in China, and causes widespread anger with the ruling Communist party.

Former Rui Hai employees have complained to Chinese media that the company has become a dark mark on their CVs, with many out of work in what they say amounts to a blacklist.

The report -- like others published in the run-up to the anniversary -- was promptly deleted, and according to one journalist involved senior editors were admonished by authorities.

"All the companies here, we all tried to build something, but now we have nothing," Xuan said at the Fortune World complex. "We didn't cause this problem, but we are paying for it."


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

.


Related Links
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Use of pulsed electric fields may reduce scar formation after burns, other injuries
Boston MA (SPX) Aug 10, 2016
A Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) research team has reported that repeated treatment with pulsed electric fields - a noninvasive procedure that does not generate heat - may help reduce the development of scarring. In the Journal of Investigative Dermatology the investigators from the MGH Center for Engineering in Medicine (MGH-CEM) and collaborators describe how use of the technology - call ... read more


DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Use of pulsed electric fields may reduce scar formation after burns, other injuries

Lost in translation: Chinese tourist taken for refugee in Germany

Researchers work to understand causes of search and rescue in the Arctic

Study shows heat dangers of inflatable bounce houses

DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Hot 'new' material found to exist in nature

From unconventional laser beams to a more robust imaging wave

'Liquid fingerprinting' technique instantly identifies unknown liquids

Putting the pressure on platinum

DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Why are New England's wild blue mussels disappearing?

Double whammy for important Baltic seaweed

Rising water temperatures and acidification affect important plankton organism

USF researchers expect no major red tide outbreaks on Florida's west coast this year

DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Arctic methane seeps host abundance of specialized life forms

NASA Maps Thawed Areas Under Greenland Ice Sheet

Antarctic sea ice may be a source of mercury in southern ocean fish and birds

Lack of water likely caused extinction of isolated Alaska mammoths

DISASTER MANAGEMENT
California grapes threatened by giant fire

Small molecules to help make SMARTER cereals

Pesticides used to help bees may actually harm them

Pesticides used by beekeepers may harm bees' gut microbiota

DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Sudan issues flood warning as Nile rises

Mexico hunts for missing after landslides kill 45

Javier weakens to tropical depression off Mexico

Mali floods leave 14 dead in a month

DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Unprecedented Ethiopia protests far from over: analysts

South Sudan accepts deployment of regional force: IGAD

US, Senegal troops wind up first-ever emergency exercise

Libya unity government demands explanation over French troops

DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Number of neurons makes human brain powerful, not structure

UVic-led archeology team makes world-first discovery about early use of stone age tools

Researchers find evidence of animal butchering by Stone Age hominins

Fresh look at burials, mass graves, tells a new story of Cahokia




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement