William with his aunt and uncle (pictured to the right) at a Tianjin restaurant. Photo: private.
TIANJIN, CHINA. The death toll from the warehouse explosions in Tianjin city close to Beijing has passed a hundred just days after the disaster, state media Xinhua News reports. There are more than 700 injured in hospital and many are still missing.
British student William Duong wasn’t at the scene of the blasts, but his uncle was one of many injured. Here he gives an insight into what happened on Wednesday night and how his uncle was affected while on his way home from work.
What have you been told about the disaster and does it differ from state media reports?
My relatives told me exactly the same as the news- that an explosion occurred around 11.30PM and I wasn’t aware of it until I received a message from my parents. I then contacted my aunt who told me my uncle was injured.
What happened to your uncle and where was he at the time of the blasts?
My uncle was unfortunately nearby the blasts and sustained some injuries, but the rest of my relatives who live in Tianjin are okay. Thankfully my uncle’s injuries weren’t very serious as he just suffered cuts from the glass shattered by the first explosion as well as fracturing his knee. He was also concerned about his hearing as he went deaf for a couple of minutes due to the blast. When he got to the hospital we heard that they were treating those who were critically injured first. He had to wait for a couple of hours because it was overfilled with casualties.
What have other people at the hospital been treated for?
My aunt told me that it was horrific. There were a lot of bloodstains around the hospital. A large majority were treated for cuts but my uncle told me that one victim had a glass fragment stuck in his eye. She also told me there were many people who got crushed from debris that came off buildings.
What is the atmosphere like in the city after the incident?
People nearby the city have had their belongings all destroyed which is devastating. But the community were talking about the state of the city in general and was wondering if the incident had links to the currency fall that happened this week. They think it was setup in order to reduce exports and to bring negativity to China’s trade.
Do your relatives think they’ve received enough information and support from authorities?
I think it’s too early to tell.
Residents within a 3km radius of the Tianjin blast site are now being evacuated as sodium cyanide was found in the area, BBC News reports.