Blasts a shock: Chinese daily

Beijing, Aug 13 (IANS) The blasts in Tianjin city that left 44 people dead and over 500 injured are “a rare and unforgettable shock”, said a state-run Chinese daily on Thursday.

An editorial in the Global Times said that Tianjin Port and the Binhai New Development Zone have undergone “a terrifying night and it puts the whole country through an astounding and saddening morning”.

A series of deadly explosions around the warehouse of Tianjin Dongjiang Port Rui Hai International Logistics Co. Ltd were “amazingly powerful”.

“This has given us a rare and unforgettable shock.”

The daily said that “we are now aware of how unsafe such dangerous goods really can be. In seemingly normal and busy modern areas or work zones, there may be explosives equivalent to dozens of tonnes of TNT nearby that could explode after a simple error and produce massive casualties”.

It added that modernization aims not only to promote prosperity, but curb such potential destructive power.

The editorial noted that judging from the video clips available, “there is unlikely to be any survivors within a certain radius from the explosions and the majority of people in this area were fire-fighters and other rescuers”.

It went on to say that the emergency response was swift.

The daily, however, pointed out that at the start of the incident, “the public launched major complaints and accusations towards the Tianjin government and media for the slow and inadequate reporting of the explosion”.

“For example, Tianjin TV was still broadcasting Korean soap operas 10 hours after the incident. Such chaos is unavoidable at the beginning of a sudden crisis.”

The editorial said that despite the criticism “the government has dealt with the crisis efficiently and in a transparent manner”.

It called for the public’s right to know to be defended and reinforced while the government deals with the disaster.

“The public could have a better understanding about what kinds of demands for information at the beginning of a disaster are appropriate, and what information still needs time to be published. Once the government and the public can reach an agreement on this, controversies will be greatly reduced.”

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