Eleven people, including a six-year-old girl, died and over 350 were admitted to hospitals after styrene monomer gas leaked from a chemical plant belonging to LG Polymers at RR Venkatapuram in Visakhapatnam on Thursday.
The gas leak began around 3.30 a.m. in the plant that stands amidst a densely populated area. It was set up in 1961, when the place was considered to be on the outskirts.
The gas reportedly spread over a radius of about 3 km, affecting at least five villages — RR Venkatapuram, Padmapuram, BC Colony, Gopalapatnam and Kamparapalem. About 2,000 people were evacuated from the 3-km radius.
A toll free number 1800 4250 0009 is available for any assistance with regard to this.
Here are the latest updates:
National Green Tribunal to take up Vizag gas leak case on Friday
The National Green Tribunal on Thursday took cognisance on its own about the Visakhapatnam gas leak incident killing at least 11 people and impacting about 1,000, many collapsing to the ground as they tried to escape the toxic vapours.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel will take up on Friday the matter titled “In re: Gas Leak at LG Polymers Chemical Plant in RR Venkatapuram Village Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh
Police registers criminal case against plant management
The management of a chemical plant near here where a gas leak left 11 people dead and hundreds hospitalised on Thursday was booked on charges including culpable homicide not amounting to murder and causing death by negligence police said.
In a related development, the Andhra Pradesh High Court took cognizance of the styrene gas leak and issued notices to the state and the Central governments, while observing how such a plant was allowed to operate in the midst of human habitations.
Centre asks chemical firms to exercise caution when reopening plants
After deadly styrene gas leak in Visakhapatnam, Union Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister D V Sadananda Gowda on Thursday urged all public and private chemical makers to exercise caution and care while reopening their plants.
Union Environment Ministry and State Pollution Control Boards have also issued separate directives to all companies to take extreme precaution while restarting their units that remained suspended due to the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country, he said.
Glitch in refrigeration unit led to gas leak: Official
A technical glitch in the refrigeration unit attached to the two styrene tanks at a chemical plant near here caused the vapour leak that killed 11 people and affected around 1,000 on Thursday, a senior district official said quoting a preliminary report.
The leak at the LG Polymers Limited was so intense that a .
“only around 9.30 am could we understand what exactly it was as the thick fog that formed in the area cleared,” District Collector V Vinay Chand said.
Centre allows airlifting of special chemical to check further damage at gas leak factory
The Centre on Thursday allowed airlifting of a special chemical from Gujarat to avoid any further damage at the factory in Vishakhapatnam, where the gas leak took place, officials said.
The move came after LG Polymers India Pvt. Ltd requested the central government for airlifting 500 kg of chemical PTBC from Daman airport to Vishakapatnam which would be useful in avoiding any further damage due to the leakage of Styrene gas.
The consignment was sourced from Vapi in Gujarat, an official said.
Israel expresses ‘deepest sympathies’ to families of victims of Vizag gas leak
Israel on Thursday expressed its “deepest sympathies” to the families of the victims of the gas leak tragedy in Visakhapatnam and prayed for the early recovery of those affected.
“I send my deepest sympathies to the families of the victims of the #VizaGasLeak and wish a speedy recovery to those injured,” Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said in a tweet.
“The thoughts and prayers of the people of Israel are with the people of #Visakhapatnam as well as @DrSJaishankar and @AdhraPradeshCM at this time,” Mr. Katz added
Company would be asked to explain, says AP Industries Minister
Andhra Pradesh Industries Minister M. Goutham Reddy on Thursday said the state government is airlifting 500 tons of inhibitors, as a foolproof safety measure, to neutralize the chemical substances in the Visakhapatnam gas leak incident and that the company would be asked to explain what went wrong.
The leak was contained within an hour, he said.
Special committee formed to investigate into gas leak incident
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy on Thursday, initiated a five member expert committee to inquire into the gas leak incident.
The committee will be headed by special chief secretary environment and forest and comprise secretary industry, commissioner of police- Visakhapatnam, secretary pollution control board and district collector.
Jagan announces ₹1 crore relief
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy announced an ex- gratia payment of ₹1 crore each to the kin of those killed in the styrene gas leak incident.
Mr. Reddy also announced ₹10 lakh each to those undergoing treatment on ventilator support and ₹25,000 to those who took treatment as out-patients after developing health complications due to inhalation of the styrene vapour.
The 15,000-odd population in the five villages that were affected by the gas leak would be paid ₹10,000 each, the chief minister added.
The chief minister announced a committee to probe into the mishap and also said the government would talk to the LG Polymers management seeking job for the kin of the deceased in any of its businesses.
NDRF says 11 dead
The National Disaster Response Force that was part of the relief and rescue operation said 11 people died in the gas leak incident. The State government maintained the death toll as eight.
As of now 11 people have lost their lives due to the gas leak, Director General of NDRF S.N. Pradhan said in New Delhi.
Member of the National Disaster Management Authority Kamal Kishore said that about 1,000 people living in nearby areas of the factory have been exposed to the gas leak.
Styrene harmful, but not fatal: AIIMS doctor
Styrene can cause harm to humans by ingestion and inhalation. Irritation in throat, can lead to breathing difficulty, wheezing and respirator distress. It affects the brain, leading to headache, nausea, vomiting, unsteadiness, problems in walking, in high exposure can lead to coma and irregular heart beat. Effect on skin is mild, can also affect eyes, says Dr. Randeep Guleria, AIIMS.
There is no specific antidote, no treatment to reserve, it is mostly supportive, says Dr. Guleria.
Clothes are to be removed, exposed eyes can be washed with water, tissue and tower to clean the skin, individuals have to be monitored for breathing difficulty, some will have to be put on ventilators. Many will require oxygen facility. Nebulization can also be given. In serious cases steroids have been given. This is a illness that is not universally fatal. Depending on degree of exposure, effect can be higher, he adds.
NDRF evacuated more than 500 people, including women and children, from the area, says NDRF DG S.N Pradhan.
The regional NDRF unit was there within half an hour. The teams were in chemical resistant suits, had oxygen cylinder. There were people who were semi conscious, women, children, elders were helped, more than 500 evacuated from the area. NDRF will stay back in the area till the situation is under control, he says.
Specialized team to reach Vizag
The Central government is mobilizing a specialized CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear materials) team from Pune and they will be flown to the site, says an NDMA official.
A specialised technical force from the medical perspective is also being mobilised, he added.
Commandant Anupam Shrivastava and his team of four will be flying from Pune to assist, says NDRF offcial. The situation under control, hardly any leakage there, we will be there till the leakage is completely plugged, he adds.
NHRC issues notice to AP govt, Centre over death and suffering of people due to gas leak.
Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, Dr P K Mishra, held a high-level review meeting with Cabinet Secretary, Home Secretary, NDMA, NDRF, Director AIIMS, and medical experts on Visaphapatnam gas leak situation, says a MHA spokesperson.
Dr Mishra has directed sending of team of experts to Visakhapatnam and also measures for relief, rescue and short term as also long term medical impact.
Gas leak under control, claims firm
The gas leak at the Visakhapatnam polymers plant is now under control, the units’ South Korean parent firm LG Chem said.
LG Chem, which operates the plant, said it is cooperating with Indian authorities to help residents and employees.
“The gas leakage is now under control, but the leaked gas can cause nausea and dizziness, so we are investing every effort to ensure proper treatment is provided swiftly,” LG Chem said in a statement.
The firm is looking into what caused the leak of styrene monomer gas, which is used for producing plastic.
“We are investigating the extent of damage and the exact cause of the leak and deaths,” it added in a statement. - PTI
South Korean Ambassador Shin Bong-kil on LG plant leak:
"I am shocked and saddened by the news of the accident that occurred at the LG Polymers Plant in Gopalpatnam, AP that caused loss of valuable lives and many falling ill.
"This was a highly unfortunate incident and our deepest condolences go out to those affected by this tragic event. We pray for the speedy recovery of those who have been taken ill."
Vice President expresses grief
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu condoled the death of people in the Visakhapatnam gas leak incident.
“Deeply distressed by the loss of lives due to gas leak ... My condolences to bereaved families and wishes for speedy recovery of those taken ill,” he said in a tweet.
AP govt launches helpline
The Andhra Pradesh government appealed to people of Visakhapatnam not to panic and cooperate with authorities working to bring under control the situation following a gas leak from a chemical plant there.
In a series of tweets, IT and Industries Minister Mekapati Goutham Reddy said a helpdesk has been set up at the department of industries’ general manager’s office in Visakhapatnam.
People can get in touch with Deputy Director S Prasada Rao on his mobile numbers 7997952301 and 891923934, and another officer R Brahma on 9701197069, he said.
Early morning fog and pungent smell rudely wake up RR Venkatapuram residents
TDP demands probe into gas leak incident
Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday demanded a probe into the gas leak incident in Visakhapatnam and asked the Centre to immediately shut down the chemical plant from where styrene vapour leaked.
In a letter to Union Commerce and Industries Minister Piyush Goyal, Mr. Naidu also asked the Centre to deploy veterinary experts to treat animals affected by the toxic gas.
“Further, COVID-19 infects the lungs and reduces the immunity of the person. Hence, it is essential that the medical aid should be two pronged keeping in mind Styrene Gas and COVID-19,” Mr. Naidu said in the letter.
“It is also essential to immediately close down the LG Polymers Unit and initiate a thorough enquiry into the gas leakage,” he said. - PTI
Heart-rending scenes of gas leak victims at various hospitals in Vizag
A little girl, aged around five years, survived after treatment at the 30-bed hospital at Gopalapatnam. She looked around, perhaps, not knowing what was happening as a doctor and nurse made her sit on the bed as her condition improved.
“Someone brought her here, placed her on the bed and left. We do not know who are her parents are or her relatives. Her condition was critical when she was brought here. We managed to rescue her and now she is okay,” said a doctor attending on her even as he rushed to attend to another patient.
Telangana CM expresses shock
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao expressed shock over the gas leak incident at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and offered condolences to the families of the deceased.
Describing the incident as very unfortunate, Mr. Rao wished for speedy recovery of those who fell ill due to the gas leak, an official release said here.
One more person die in connection with the Visakhapatnam gas leak incident. With this, the total death toll touches eight.
Glimpses from the rescue ops...
President condoles loss of lives in gas leak incident in Vizag
President Ram Nath Kovind condoled the loss of lives in the gas leak incident in Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam and prayed for the recovery of the injured.
"Saddened by the news of gas leak in a plant near Visakhapatnam which has claimed several lives. My condolences to the families of the victims. I pray for the recovery of the injured and the safety of all," he tweeted.
“I am confident that the administration is doing everything possible to bring the situation under control at the earliest,” the President said.
Clamour for LG Polymers’ plant closure grows louder
Clamour for the closure of LG Polymers plant is growing with people from various walks seeking closure of the company for criminal negligence.
CITU State president Ch. Narsinga Rao squarely blamed the management for the major accident and sought prosecution of senior officials for the fatal accident and action against officials who accorded the clearances to the company to go ahead with the expansion.
Styrene, a poisonous gas, could have triggered series of explosions
The styrene gas that leaked from LG Polymers which has killed at least seven people and created panic in several areas of Visakhapatnam leading to fleeing of homes in the vicinity of the plant is a poisonous, inflammable gas used in plastic engineering industry, and could have triggered a series of explosions, according to experts.
Dr. D Raghunatha Rao, former Director, Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital and Research Centre said styrene is primarily used in the production of polystyrene plastics and resins. Acute (short-term) exposure to styrene in humans results in mucous membrane and eye irritation, and gastrointestinal effects.
Cover your face with wet cloth: GVMC
The Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation is working along with police and NDRF to subside the gas leak effect by blowing water through water blowers.
They are also instructing people on the precautions to be taken such as covering their face with wet cloth.
GVMC has also asked people to call the toll free number 1800 4250 0009 for assistance.
PM Modi speaks to CM Jagan, assures all assistance
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy regarding the situation in Visakhapatnam, said the PMO's office.
He assured all help and support, it added.
Assist those affected, says Rahul Gandhi to Congress workers
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi asked party workers in the area to assist those affected by the gas leak.
"I’m shocked to hear about the Vizag Gas Leak. I urge our Congress workers & leaders in the area to provide all necessary support & assistance to those affected. My condolences to the families of those who have perished. I pray that those hospitalised make a speedy recovery," he wrote on Twitter.
PM Modi, Amit Shah expresses concern
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah said that they are in touch with the authorities in Visakhapatnam regarding the incident.
PM Modi has convened a meeting of the National Disaster Management Authority in the wake of the situation in Visakhapatnam following a gas leak incident, the Prime Minister’s Office said.
The meet has been convened at 11.00 a.m., the PMO tweeted. Home Minister Amit Shah and MoS G. Kishan Reddy are expected to attend the meeting at PM's residence.
"The incident in Vizag is disturbing. Have spoken to the NDMA officials and concerned authorities. We are continuously and closely monitoring the situation. I pray for the well-being of the people of Visakhapatnam," wrote Home Minister Amit Shah on Twitter.
People in 5km radius affected, says official
Minister of State G. Kishan Reddy spoke to Chief Secretary and DGP of Andhra Pradesh and extended all from Centre to deal with the tragedy.
An NDRF Team has reached the factory where the gas leak took place.
According to latest update, people living in five kilometre radius have been affected, said an official. This includes policemen posted in the area.
Considering that the government hospital is up to capacity, Mr. Reddy asked the Chief Secretary to use private hopsitals for treatment.
CM enquires about gas leak, leaves for Vizag
Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy enquired about the gas leak, and is expected to visit the port city to obtain a first-hand account of the disaster.
The CM has instructed the Collector to take necessary rescue and relief measures, and to shift the people to safety.
Meanwhile, Minister for Industries and Commerce Mekapati Goutham Reddy instructed the district officials to set up a helpline number to cater to the residents of Narava, R.R. Puram, Tailors' Colony, BC Colony, Bapuji Nagar, Kamparapalem and Krishna Nagar areas.
He also directed the Special Chief Secretary (Industries) R. Karikal Valaven to extend every assistance required by the district administration.
Around 2,000 people evacuated
According to the police, about 2,000 people have been evacuated to various places, and many residents have moved out on their own.
District Collector V. Vinay Chand said that about 300 beds had been kept ready and people had been asked to cover their faces with wet cloth.
An National Disaster Response Force team has reached the spot to evacuate people.
According to a resident, the police reached the spot around 3 a.m. and alerted the residents using loud speakers and siren. The Commissioner of Police said that the police had to break open doors to evacuate the residents. The Collector said that ambulances, police vans and APSRTC buses were deputed to evacuate the people.
Scores of people admitted to hospital
Five people, including a six-year-old girl, died and scores of others were admitted to the 30-bed government hospital at Gopalapatnam and the King George Hospital, following the leakage of poisonous gas from the Hindustan Polymers plant here on Thursday.
The toll was confirmed by the Andhra Medical College Principal P.V. Sudhakar and GVMC Commissioner S. Srijana.
Prof. Sudhakar said that the toll might increase and hourly monitoring of patients admitted was being done.