Firework explosion in Mexico claims 29 lives

A huge explosion caused due to fireworks in Mexico City claimed 29 lives and injured many. The accident took place in Tultepe- the best-known fireworks market of Mexico. The entire market consisting of more than 300 stands wiped out in the explosion.

Governor of the state, Eruviel Avila stated that 72 people have been injured in the whole incident. The Mexican red cross society said that it has sent 10 ambulances with 50 paramedics to help out the people. It took fire tenders more than 3 hours to bring the situation under control.

People were able to feel the ground tremble due to the explosions in the vicinity. The explosion seemed to be a festive celebration initially but later turned out to be a major accident. Several homes and nearby vehicles were also damaged as a result of the fire. The military was deployed in order to rescue the people who were trapped in the marketplace.

The charred bodies of the dead are unrecognisable, so forensic experts are working on their medical analysis. Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto tweeted his condolences for those who died in the fire. He also wished for a speedy recovery for those who were hurt in the fire.

Tutlepec is famous for its pyrotechnics industry. As Christmas and New Year is approaching, the whole industry was full of fireworks. A similar incident occurred in 2005 where many people lost their lives, just ahead of the Mexican Independence Day.

 

Sources- The Telegraph, The New Indian ExpressIndependent

ImageSource- AP

 

 

The Absence of Justice in Bhopal Tragedy

India may be singing praises of its rapid industrialisation, but the past cannot be buried easily.

History will not forget the night of December 2, 1984 – while the country slept, a tragedy unfolded in Bhopal that still haunts the nation. Stuck in the legal maze for justice, batting emotional hangovers, 32 years of struggle has not brought any relief to the people affected by the Bhopal Gas Tragedy.

The poisonous Methyl Isocyanate gas that leaked from a Union Carbide plant, brought upon a holocaust on the blissful sleep of the citizens of Bhopal. The disaster saw a casualty count that cannot be shrugged off till today. About 4000 people were killed within just a couple of days of the leak. The next few days saw a surge in the death toll to nearly 15,287, due to the lingering aftereffects. The aftermath also led to a scourge that affected five lakh people.

Three decades have passed, but instead of justice, the aftermath of the deadly disaster still haunts the Bhopalis. The effects of 1984 destroyed generation after generation, crippling the brain and bodies of infants, while the old still carry scars of the disaster. The Sambhavna Trust Clinic is a health centre that provides free medical help to the survivors of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. Congenital defects, cerebral palsy and cancer has been reported widely among children. The clinic studied that almost 2500 children are suffering from birth defects due to the exposure of their parents towards the lethal gases.

The second and the third generations are at a higher risk than the survivors of the tragedy. Unfortunately, the government does not take these abnormalities into consideration, provide any significant measures to combat these illnesses. For most families, the birth of a child is a reason to celebrate, but in these families, it comes as a shock and burden. The child’s birth defects add to their misery, and provide an added financial burden due to expensive medical treatments.

Around 350 tonnes of toxic waste lies in Bhopal near the disaster site, tainting the water and land; the government remains oblivious to these conditions. After the gas leak, the factory was locked up with all the hazardous substances left to rot. The cylinder that was the source of the whole calamity lies discarded, just meters away from the factory.

Bhopalis living in the area have no safe, pure drinking water. Life-risking chemicals have percolated through the water and polluted the underground water, along with the nearby water bodies. Surveys prove that the carcinogen in water is 1000 times more than the World Health Organisation’s limit.

The question of justice is long gone for the unmeasurable loss suffered by the people of Bhopal during this tragedy. The government could neither punish the culprits, nor could they provide atonement for the victims. Charges of manslaughter were filed against Warren Anderson, the CEO of Union Carbide India, but he managed to flee the country.  The Rajiv Gandhi government closed the case by settling for a compensation amount of $470 million. The amount, though seemingly large, when distributed between the endless families is at a bare minimal compensation.

Activists have protested and burnt the effigies of Warren Anderson and Uncle Tom. They raised questions against the Indian government and forced Dow Chemical, who purchased Union Carbide, to clean up the site and revise the compensation amount. Since the launch of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, no cleaning activity has taken place at the factory site, raising questions about negligence towards Bhopal. The NGOs and people are protesting for their past, present and the future.

 

Sources: Hindustan Times, Wall Street Journal, Daily O, Environmental Health Journal

Blast at Explosives Factory in Tiruchy Kills 10

A blast in Vetrivel Explosives, an explosive making factory in Murugapatti, about 40 km from Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu has killed at least 10 people and injured 15. While the reason for the fire was not known immediately, three firefighting units and ten ambulances were at the site within minutes. None of the bodies has been identified yet.

According to the Deccan Chronicle, the fire was first noticed in one of the manufacturing wings and then it spread to other parts of the factory. The waves of blasts were felt two kilometers away and the factory building collapsed due to the explosion. Since it was raining heavily, the rescue operations could not be done properly even though the fire was quickly contained. The smoke emanating from the unit was stinking and very toxic, police said. There were 15 sub-units making the chemicals.

Around 200 people worked in the factory. Those who were injured and killed in the blast came to the factory for their 6 am shift on Dec 1st. While officials said that around 15 to 20 workers were working in the factory during the fire, locals said that at least 50 people were working there.

According to the New Indian Express, seven ambulances have been deployed to clear the bodies and sent them in the Tiruchy Government Hospital.
The police force is also deployed on the roads blocked by the protestors from the nearby village.

Sources: Deccan Chronicle , Indian Express

 

 

 

 

 

Fire in Bangladesh Factory kills 23, injures 70

Tongi, Bangladesh: 23 people have been killed and more than 70 injured at a packaging factory in Bangladesh. Local police stated that around 100 workers were in the factory when the fire broke out. A boiler in the factory exploded, causing the fire to erupt and engulf the building.

Bangladesh newspaper, The Dhaka Tribune, reported that flames quickly spread through the four-storey Tempako Packaging Factory, which is 20 km North of capital city, Dhaka. The explosion instantly killed 17 people, while according to latest statistics, more than four workers succumbed to their injuries.

The government deployed more than twenty teams of firefighters to control and eventually extinguish the massive blaze. The fire also caused the four-storey building to partially collapse, injuring more workers.

This latest incident is just one in a string of fires over the past few years. Due to poor safety measures and conditions in factories, workers’ lives are often put at risk. In 2013, the popular Rana Plaza collapsed, leaving a horrific death toll of more than 1000 people.

Sources: