Hundreds of residents displaced by huge explosions last week in China’s port city of Tianjin demanded compensation on Monday, as authorities worked to complete a sweep of the blast site for dangerous chemicals.
The death toll from the two blasts last Wednesday rose to 114, officials said. More than 700 people were injured and 70 are still missing, most of them fire fighters, the official Xinhua news agency said.
The explosions sent massive fireballs into the sky and hurled burning debris across the industrial area at the world’s 10th-largest port, burning out buildings and shattering windows kilometers away.
Xinhua reported there had been another small explosion on Monday. Dark smoke had cleared after the blast but flames could still be seen.
As teams specialized in handling hazardous chemicals scrambled to clean up the blast site, Tianjin’s deputy mayor, He Shushan, confirmed there was about 700 tons of the deadly chemical sodium cyanide stored at the warehouse that blew up.
He said that, “after searching, most was concentrated in the core” blast area. Workers would finish a search of a 3-km (2-mile) perimeter to identify and clean up dangerous chemicals by the end of the day, he said.
About 200 emotional protesters gathered outside a hotel where officials were briefing journalists.
“This is not a demonstration. This is simply our only channel to attract the government’s attention. Up until now they have not acknowledged us at all,” said Li Jiao, whose home was close to the blast site.
Some 6,300 people have been evacuated from around the blast…