News / Asia

    Gas Explosions in Taiwan Kill At Least 24, Injure Hundreds

    • Firemen put out fire on the part of a destroyed street as fire continue to burn following multiple explosions from an underground gas leak in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Aug. 1, 2014.
    • Tossed vehicles line an destroyed street as flames continue to burn from multiple explosions from an underground gas leak in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Aug. 1, 2014.
    • Flames from an explosion from an underground gas leak in the streets of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Aug. 1, 2014.
    • A woman crosses over a trench made from a massive gas explosion in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Aug. 1, 2014.
    • Emergency workers survey the damage from a massive gas explosion in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Aug. 1, 2014.
    • Vehicles are left lie in a destroyed street following multiple explosions from an underground gas leak in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Aug. 1, 2014.
    • A rooftop view shows a destroyed street from a massive gas explosion in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Aug. 1, 2014.
    • Vehicles are left lying on a destroyed street as part of the street is burning with flame following multiple explosions from an underground gas leak in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Aug. 1, 2014.
    • Locals survey the damage from a massive gas explosion in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Aug. 1, 2014.
    • Rescue workers survey the damage from a massive gas explosion in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Aug. 1, 2014.
    Gas Explosions in Kaohsiung, Taiwan - Friday, August 1
    VOA News

    At least 24 people were killed and 270 others injured in a series of powerful gas explosions in the southern city of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, late Thursday, according to the city's latest update on Friday.

    At least five blasts shook the city of 2.8 million residents, Taiwan's Premier Jiang Yi-huah said.

    The explosions overturned cars and ripped up roads and sparked a massive inferno that tore through the city's Cianjhen district, officials said Friday. Terrified residents fled a huge ball of flames.

    Four firefighters were killed in the accident, the National Fire Agency said.

    Kaohsiung, TaiwanKaohsiung, Taiwan
    x
    Kaohsiung, Taiwan
    Kaohsiung, Taiwan

    Gas leak

    The explosions, believed to have been triggered by gas leaking from underground pipelines, were powerful enough to upturn cars and tear open paved roads. One street had been split along its length, swallowing fire engines and other vehicles.

    One local resident surnamed Peng told the French news agency AFP: "There was a heavy odor of gas and... then I heard explosions and saw fire spurting from a store."

    "My house shook as if there were an earthquake and the power went out," she was quoted as saying by the Taiwan Central News Agency.

    Rescue teams are also trying to prevent more explosions.

    Hsu Lee-hao, Economic Affairs Ministry section chief staffing the National Disaster Response Center, said authorities are worried about preventing another explosion, which they fear could happen in the same area or elsewhere.
     
    Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu said that the incident was the worst of its kind in the past decade.

    Death toll may increase

    The number of casualties may increase as the explosion caused road surface to collapse and people may fell into holes.

    Taiwan's CNA said the local fire department received reports from residents of gas leakage at about 8:46 p.m. (0446 GMT) and that explosions started around midnight.

    A Kaohsiung city government official said the blazes had mostly been extinguished or burned themselves out by mid-morning on Friday, but a few fires were continuing.

    Jiang, the island's executive chief, is coordinating the rescue operations at an emergency response center Friday.

    The island's military force has deployed more than 500 soldiers to the sites for rescue work.

    The cause of the gas leak is still under investigation.

    The explosions left about 23,000 people without gas and more than 12,000 without power.

    Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou has urged relevant authorities to help the rescue, according to his office spokeswoman Ma Wei-kuo.

    The local government was evacuating more than 1,100 residents from the impacted areas to schools and shelters as they tried to locate the source of the leaks and warned people to stay away.

    Soldiers helping in effort

    The military dispatched around 1,400 soldiers to the scene to help with the disaster effort.

    It was the second gas blast in Kaohsiung in recent years.

    In 1997, an explosion killed five people and injured around 20 when a team from Taiwan's state-run Chinese Petroleum Corp. (CPC) tried to unearth a section of gas pipeline in a road construction project.

    It was the second disaster to strike Taiwan in just over a week, after a TransAsia Airways plane crashed with the loss of 48 people last Wednesday.

    Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AFP and AP.

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora