UPDATE: Texas fertilizer plant explosion
UPDATE @ 12:00 UTC - 12 bodies have been recovered, at least 35 people are missing [some of the victims may have been vaporized in the inferno,] and more than 200 injured in the blast, officials have said.
A deadly blast rocked the West Fertilizer Plant in the small town of West north of Waco, Texas at about 7.50pm local time on Wednesday [00:50 UTC on Thursday.]
Dozens of people are feared dead and at least 160 were injured, including 24 – 48 critically, after the explosion destroyed scores of home and released toxic fumes into the air. [There's NO official death toll as yet, but West mayor said the explosion had killed at least 14 people, as the search to recover bodies continued.]
The Day After. An aerial view shows the aftermath of a massive explosion at a fertilizer plant in the town of West, near Waco, Texas April 18, 2013. A large apartment block destroyed by the blast is seen on top left corner of the image. Credit: REUTERS/Adrees Latif. More images…
The blast was recorded as a 2.1 magnitude quake by USGS/EHP, which said, “the magnitude measures only the ground motion, not the air wave, so is substantially less than the true size of the event.”
“Every house within about four blocks is blown apart,” the Waco Tribune quoted an eyewitness as saying.
Image shows the smoldering West Fertilizer Co. plant in West, Texas after a massive explosion. Credit: McLennan County Sheriff and Fire
Texas state Gov. Perry said he would declare the area a disaster and request an emergency declaration for federal aid from the White House.
Official have evacuated half of the town’s 2,700 population. West is located in north-central part of Texas about 20 miles (32 km) north of Waco.
Smoke rises from the scene of an explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. plant in West, Texas in this April 18, 2103 still image from video courtesy of NBCDFW TV. REUTERS/NBCDFW-NBC/Handout
“The West plant is one of thousands of sites across rural America that store and sell hazardous materials such as chemicals and fertilizer for agricultural use, many within close range of residences and schools,” said a report.
It’s not known why the planning authorities allowed so many residential units to be built so close to a fertilizer plant.
Officials said there was NO evidence of foul play.
State of Emergency declared in Illinois amid widespread flooding
Illinois Governor Quinn has declared a state of emergency as widespread flooding brought havoc to the Chicago area on Thursday, with another wave of storms forecast for the region.
“Heavy rainfall over the past few days has created dangerous flooding in areas across the state,” Quinn said. “Everyone should stay home and off the roads if possible. To ensure safety as these storms continue, people should be alert and avoid flooded areas.”
Several towns and counties have separately declared a state of emergency, including Elmhurst, Lisle and Lombard.
“Quinn said a hospital in Morris had to be evacuated as well as two trailer parks currently under water. Residents have lost whole rooms of belongings, and in Chicago a sinkhole swallowed three cars, injuring a man,” according to a report.
Three cars were swallowed by a sinkhole Thursday on Chicago’s South Side. One person was injured. Source: nbcchicago. More images …
State of emergency Declared in Wyoming, Michigan
Mayor of Wyoming, Mich., has declared a state of emergency in the city due to flooding.
- Mandatory evacuations have been issued for the worst affected areas, said a report.
State of emergency Declared in Alma, Michigan
A state of emergency has been declared in the city of Alma, Mich., due to flooding.
- “Flood levels are expected to continue through Wednesday, April 23,” said a report.
States of emergencies declared in 2 Michigan counties
Midland and Newaygo counties in Michigan have both declared a state of emergency due to flooding, said a report.
State of emergencies declared in Benton County, Ark.
Officials have declared a state of emergency in Benton County, Ark., after extreme rain events caused widespread flooding, said a report.
China reports four new H7N9 infections
Health officials in China have reported 7 new cases of H7N9 avian flu infections in Shanghai and the provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang, said a report.
- The latest cases raises the total number of H7N9 infections to at least 87, with 17 fatalities.
- The latest 3 (of a total of 30) patients in Zhejiang are said to be in critical condition.
Human-to-human transmission of H7N9 revisited
More than 50 percent of patients infected with H7N9 virus in China had no contact with poultry, said the World Health Organization on Friday.
- “As the investigation gets deeper we’re finding that more than half have had no contact with poultry”, O’Leary told a briefing.
- “It’s hard to definitively rule in or rule out chickens”, he said. “This is still an animal virus that occasionally infects humans. With rare exceptions, we know that people are not getting sick from other people.” The WHO’s China representative reported.
27 killed, 51 wounded in Baghdad cafe bombing
At least 27 people were killed and 51 others wounded on Thursday when a bomb exploded in a cafe in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, reports said.
DISASTER CALENDAR – April 19, 2013 —
SYMBOLIC COUNTDOWN: 1,058 Days Left
Mass die-offs resulting from human impact and the planetary response to the anthropogenic assault could occur by early 2016.
- SYMBOLIC COUNTDOWN: 1,058 Days Left to ‘Worst Day’ in the brief Human History
- The countdown began on May 15, 2011 …
Global Disasters: Links, Forecasts and Background