The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), briefing media on the Visakhapatnam gas leak incident, on Thursday declared it as a “chemical disaster”.
An NDMA official said that the mishap is a chemical disaster and the response requires expertise on the chemical side, the chemical management side, on medical part as well as on the evacuation part.
Meanwhile, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) Director General, SN Pradhan, during the briefing informed that the death toll due to the gas leak has risen to 11 including a child.
The press briefing was attended by officials of the NDRF, NDMA and Director of AIIMS.
Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, PK Mishra on Thursday held a meeting with Cabinet Secretary, Home Secretary, NDRF, NDMA, Director AIIMS and medical experts on the incident of gas leak in Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam and also directed to send a team of experts and measures for relief and rescue work.
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs officials, Mishra held a high level meeting with Cabinet Secretary, Home Secretary, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF), Director All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), and medical experts on Vishakhapatnam gas leak situation.
The officials said that Mishra directed sending of team of experts to Visakhaptanam and also short term as also long term medical impact.
The high-level meeting by Mishra came shortly after Prime Minister Narendra Modi called a meeting with the NDMA officials in the wake of the gas leak incident in Visakhapatnam on Thursday morning.
The incident took place at the plant of LG Polymers India Pvt Ltd in Venkatapuram. The leak occurred at around 3:30 am today morning at the chemical plant, that was shut due to the countrywide lockdown.
People in five surrounding villages, in a three km radius were reported to have got sick after inhaling the gas, identified as Styrene.
Around 800 persons were initially rushed for treatment to various hospitals after complaining of breathing difficulties, and burning sensation in the eyes. Currently, over 240 people with health complications are undergoing treatment at the King George Hospital, Visakhapatnam and 20 of them are on ventilator support.
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), Andhra Pradesh Special Police (APSP) and nearby police swung into action to rescue and shift people to safe places.
The plant makes polystyrene, a versatile plastic used in fiberglass, rubber and latex and for making toys and appliances among other things. Set up in 1961 as Hindustan Polymers, the company was taken over by South Korea’s LG Chem and renamed LG Polymers India in 1997.