Updated: 11 dead, 1,000 affected due to gas leak in Vizag: Govt
New Delhi: A specialised CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) team of the NDRF and medical specialists are being rushed to Vishakhapatnam where 11 people have been killed and about 1,000 affected due to gas leak at a chemical factory, the Centre said on Thursday.
Director General of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) S N Pradhan said the leakage from the factory is now minimal but the NDRF personnel will be at the spot till it is totally plugged.
As of now 11 people have lost their lives and 20-25 people are critical due to the gas leak, he said at a hurriedly convened press conference here.
Member of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Kamal Kishore said that about 1,000 people living in nearby areas of the factory have been exposed to the gas leak.
Pradhan said 500 people belonging to 200-250 families living in 3 km radius have been evacuated to the safer places.
Kishore said the gas that has leaked is Styrene and the site of incident is about 20 kms from Vishakhapatnam.
“It is toxic and injurious to human health. So far what we know is that nearly 1,000 people were directly exposed living in close proximity to the plant where the leak took place,” he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting of the NDMA, of which he is the chairperson, and took stock of the situation on the ground as well as the response that has taken place till now and the response required from across the board.
Subsequently, the National Crisis Management Committee, headed by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, met and designed specific steps that needed to be taken to contain the effect and ensure the safety of people who were affected, and manage the emergency on ground, he said.
Kishore said the central government is flying in a specialised CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) team of the NDRF from Pune to Vishakhapatnam and they will extend all technical support to the local authorities.
“We are also mobilising specialised technical support to assist the medical practitioners in the area who may not have dealt with this kind of emergency,” he said.
When asked if the Centre will issue some guidelines in the wake of similar factories opening after the lockdown, Kishore said there are detailed guidelines on chemical safety and these are very clear and industries need to implement them vigorously like before.
There is no need to issue fresh directives but social distancing measures should be enforced properly in the wake of coronavirus outbreak, he said.
Giving details of the incident, Pradhan said it happened at around 2:30 am. Initially the people were affected by some throat and skin irritation and toxic gas smell, he said.
“We were informed at around 5:30-5:45 am and the NDRF personnel were there in half-an-hour,” he said.
The NDRF chief said door-to-door search was done by NDRF personnel to help unconscious and semi-conscious people living in nearby areas.
“We will stay back in that area till we are absolutely sure that the situation is under control. We will be at the incident site till it is required.
“The overall situation is under control and I think overall we can say that it is about rehabilitation and treatment of affected people,” he said.
Pradhan also said the cause of leakage is being probed by local police and its major effect remains for about 6-7 hours and situations is under watch, being closely monitored. There is nothing to worry about now, he said.
AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria, who also attended the briefing, said evacuated people are being treated and monitored closely.
House-to-house visits are being done to see if any one is facing any medical problem, he said.