At least eleven people including a child died after toxic gas had leaked from LG Polymers facility located near Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.
At least 800 people were reportedly admitted to hospital. Ambulances, fire engines and policemen rushed to the chemical plant. Thousands of people were evacuated from the nearby villages, officials told.
Urging the residents to stay indoors, Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation tweeted: “There is gas leakage identified at LG Polymers in Gopalpatnam. Requesting Citizens around these locations not to come out of houses for the sake of safety precautions.”
The plant operated by LG Polymers was located in the outskirts of Visakhapatnam. The city and the surrounding area were home to around five million people. The plant was shut since late March due to coronavirus lockdown.
The local villagers informed the officials around 3.30 am today about the presence of gas in the air. “Hundreds of people have inhaled it and either fell unconscious or having breathing issues,” Srijana Gummalla, Commissioner, Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation said on Twitter.
How dangerous is the gas that leaked from the factory?
Exposure to styrene, also known as ethenylbenzene, vinylbenzene can affect the central nervous system (CNS), causing headache, fatigue, weakness, and depression.
Leaked gas can cause these damages
Acute (short-term) exposure to styrene in humans results in mucous membrane and eye irritation, and gastrointestinal effects, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Death toll rises to at least nine
According to a report by ANI, an official confirmed that the death toll in Vizag gas leak rose to nine on Thursday afternoon with close to 300 people being hospitalised due to styrene monomer vapours.