A chemical gas leak at LG Polymers chemical factory at Visakhapatnam district in Andhra Pradesh on Thursday killed at least eight people while more than 800 people were hospitalised after inhaling the poisonous gas.
“The poisonous gas (Styrene) affects the central nervous system, throat, skin, eyes and some other parts of the body,” news reports quoted S N Pradhan, Director General of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) as saying.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting with National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) officials on Thursday in the wake of a gas leak incident.
Modi also informed that he had spoken to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and assured him of all help and support needed.
Social media platforms are flooded with images of people in the neighbouring village lying unconsciously on the streets after inhaling the poisonous gas emanated from the factory.
At least 1,000 people are evacuated from the nearby villages as a precautionary measure.
Satya Pradhan, DG NDRF, tweeted that a special chemical accident team has rushed to the spot and continues its search and evacuation work by assisting the local people on site.
Srijana Gummalla, Commissioner, Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) said that according to primary report PVC gas (or Styrene) leaked from LG Polymers, Vepagunta near Gopalapatnam in Visakhapatnam at around 2:30 AM today.
“Because of the leakage of the said compound gas hundreds of people have inhaled it and either fell unconscious or have breathing issues,” she added.
GVMC has urged via tweet the residents to stay indoors for the sake of safety precautions.
The impact of the leak has reached villages as far as five km radius, leaving scores of citizens breathless and fears of a serious industrial disaster.
Andhra Pradesh Industry Minister Mekapati Goutham Reddy shared a list of precautionary measures to people in Vizag, who are in the areas affected by the gas leak and also asked them to cover themselves with wet cloth/mask.
The plant in Andhra Pradesh is owned by South Korean battery maker LG Chemical Ltd, and is located around 14 kilometers away from Visakhapatnam city.
LG Chem, South Korea’s top petrochemical maker by capacity, took over the facility previously owned by Hindustan Polymers and renamed it as LG Polymers.