News / Asia

Taiwan Checks Gas Lines, Probes Companies after Deadly Blasts

Rescue personnel survey the wreckage after an explosion in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, August 1, 2014.
Rescue personnel survey the wreckage after an explosion in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, August 1, 2014.
Ralph Jennings

Taiwan is inspecting all underground gas lines for potential leaks after several underground explosions last week in the island’s second largest city killed 28 people and injured some 300 others. Prosecutors are also investigating two companies for their role in the leak of an industrial-use gas they believe caused the series of blasts.

While investigators continue to search for the exact cause of the series of explosions, authorities are taking steps to ensure that pipelines elsewhere in the country are safe.

Taiwan’s cabinet has ordered local governments to check the safety of underground gas pipelines by making sure the 21-year-old city and county computer records are up to date and complete.

Central government official Sun Lih-chyun said the petrochemical factories will be required to fill any gaps in the records. The central government will then have a copy of the records, at which point the group of experts can give advice such as what to do next and how to apply the information gathered.

The city where last week's explosion occurred, industrial port Kaohsiung, has Taiwan's highest concentration of underground gas lines located near residences - about 120,000 kilometers of pipes. Another cluster of underground gas pipelines near people's homes is in a large county that includes Taiwan's main international airport.

City officials in Kaohsiung say a propylene leak on Thursday evening led to the chain of explosions around midnight. The explosions blew up parts of four roads, sending cars into the air and catapulting rubble.

Prosecutors in Kaohsiung have sent a team of 11 to investigate two companies suspected of piping the propylene that leaked on Thursday. It is probing LCY Chemical Corporation, which makes petrochemical products, and its gas supplier, China General Terminal and Distribution Corp. City prosecutor spokesman Huang Yuan-kuan said the probe may lead to criminal charges.

Huang said the prosecutor will do a full investigation of the case and then confirm whether the cause can be blamed on a particular company or person. He added that since there is a great deal of evidence to consider, the prosecutor will proceed quickly but with no deadline.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Head: Breach 'Will Never Happen Again'

update Julia Pierson answers questions about the latest break-in well as several other embarrassing incidents involving the agency More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid