Gas leakage from a chemical plant in Visakhapatnam has reportedly led to the death of eight people, including two children.
While 300 people have been already hospitalised, 5,000 others are reported sick.
The accident occurred at LG Polymers and the municipal corporation confirmed the news through a tweet.
The plant makes polystyrene and expandable polystyrene, a versatile plastic used to make a wide variety of consumer products like toys and appliances.
Speaking to News18, officials of NDRF said that the plant was opening after the lockdown when the incident occurred. Talking about the effects of the chemical leaked, they said:
Styrene is a common chemical used in the plastic industry. But if the quantities of consumption are very high and the proximity is intense, then it can be lethal.
Disturbing visuals from the site show people and animals lying on the roads, possibly unconscious.
Pained that yet another tragedy has hit Vizag amidst the battle against #Covid19. It is now, when we must work harder than before to ensure safety for all.— Srinivas B V (@srinivasiyc) May 7, 2020
I request my Youth Congress family to provide every possible assistance to help those affected by the #VizagGasLeak. pic.twitter.com/cmzUVfqdeX
The NDRF teams were rushed to the site soon after the accident and rescue work is on.
PM Narendra Modi also tweeted about the accident and prayed for everyone's safety.
Spoke to officials of MHA and NDMA regarding the situation in Visakhapatnam, which is being monitored closely.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 7, 2020
I pray for everyone’s safety and well-being in Visakhapatnam.
Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation has released a map showing vulnerable areas surrounding the chemical plant and has asked people to use wet masks as a safety precaution.
Our prayers go out to the people and families affected by the incident.