Rescue crews have found 114 bodies, with 95 people still missing, 85 of whom are firefighters, after two huge explosions China’s Port of Tianjin where dangerous chemicals and goods are stored late Wednesday night, Xinhua news agency reports.
Chinese authorities are still trying to ascertain what exactly caused a potent mix of chemicals to ignite. Authorities had earlier said that the warehouse contained calcium carbide, potassium nitrate and ammonium nitrate.
The local media say that hundreds of tonnes of highly poisonous cyanide were being stored at the warehouse. The comments by Shi Luze, chief of the general staff of the Beijing military region, were the first official confirmation of the presence of the chemical at the hazardous goods storage facility at the centre of the blast.
An SCMP report was very skeptical about the Tianjin government that may have held daily press conferences since Wednesday's explosions, but many critics are unconvinced the local authorities have improved transparency as pledged.
Tianjin officials have ordered a citywide check on any potential safety risks and violation of fire rules, mandating suspension of operations for factories that cannot immediately comply with safety rules.
The municipal government has held six press conferences, the first 18 hours after the initial blast and the most recent on Sunday morning, but many questions over key issues - such as the cause of the explosion.
Meanwhile, the Chinese prime minister has visited the site of devastating explosions. Li Keqiang arrived at the site of the Tianjin blasts on Sunday afternoon, and visited firefighters, rescuers and people injured in the calamity.
With small explosions continuing to rock the area, authorities are now rushing to clean up the chemical contamination and prevent another tragedy occurring.
Environmental group Greenpeace said Sunday it had tested surface water for cyanide at four locations in the city and had not detected high levels of the chemical.