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Memorial Services Held in Tianjin

  • VOA News

Residents of the Harbour City apartment complex place flowers at a memorial near their building for victims of the Tianjin blasts in northeastern China's Tianjin municipality, Aug. 18, 2015.

Residents of the Harbour City apartment complex place flowers at a memorial near their building for victims of the Tianjin blasts in northeastern China's Tianjin municipality, Aug. 18, 2015.

Memorial services were held in the northeast Chinese port city of Tianjin on Tuesday to pay tribute to victims of last week's two massive explosions at a warehouse that killed at least 114 people.

On a road near the site of the blast, local residents and volunteers presented flowers and bowed to show their respect to the victims.

State television CCTV reported that memorial services were also held in other locations in Tianjin, including the blast site, temporary shelters and residential areas.

Tuesday marked seven days since the twin blasts and is a key date on which to mourn the dead according to Chinese tradition.

Rain fell Tuesday on Tianjin, complicating recovery efforts and raising fears about possible effects from toxic chemicals. More than 700 people were injured in the explosions and 57 remain unaccounted for, most of them firefighters.

Warehouses at the site were holding several thousand tons of chemicals, including 700 tons of sodium cyanide, 800 tons of ammonium nitrate and 500 tons of potassium nitrate.

State media said Tuesday that the company in charge of operating the warehouses had a license that permitted it to work with hazardous chemicals, but that it only obtained the license in June.

Also Tuesday, the Communist Party’s anti-corruption watchdog said authorities were investigating the head of China’s work safety agency.

It said Yang Dongliang was suspected of “severe violation of discipline and law,” without providing further details or directly linking the investigation to the explosions.

China’s top prosecutor has opened an investigation into the cause of the accident and whether safety rules regarding the location of chemical facilities in relation to homes and main roads were violated.

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