Red Cross responds as warehouse explosions in Tianjin leave at least 114 dead and hundreds injured

Published: 14 August 2015 9:43 CET

By Shu Liu, IFRC

On the night of 12 August, two massive explosions in a chemical goods warehouse in Tianjin, China, has left 114 people dead and affected around 17,000 households. More than 700 people were injured and hospitalized, of which 70 are in a critical condition. It is reported that 95 people are missing, including 85 firefighters. Most of the injuries were from stones and shards of glass dispersed by the shockwaves. The explosions were so powerful that they shattered the windows of high-rise residential buildings several kilometres away, while new cars parked at nearby local automobile companies were completely destroyed. 

The second explosion was estimated to be equivalent to 21 tons of TNT. Concerns of toxic agents in the smoke from the explosions brought a chemical regiment from Beijing to deal with the aftermath. Doctors from trauma units of leading hospitals also assembled on the ground to work with local medical teams to provide treatment to the injured. 

The Red Cross Society of China, Tianjin Branch, provided its first batch of relief items just four hours after the explosion. The relief items, consisting of tents, first aid kits, family kits, food, water and other necessities, were sent to a shelter point set up on the playground of a school near the affected area.

An estimated 6,000 people have been displaced by the explosion and are now taking refuge at 10 shelter points on the school grounds. Residents in the neighbouring communities also received first aid kits from the Red Cross. Mr. Wang Haijing, Vice President of the Red Cross Society of China, has requested the Tianjin Branch to work closely with relevant government authorities to provide assistance to those affected.

Hundreds of people lined up at 15 blood donation outlets in Tianjin to help victims of the explosion. The Red Cross is also prepared to provide psychosocial support to the victims and their families. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is in close contact with Red Cross Society of China to monitor the situation and to provide support as needed.