Relatives of the 22 people who died in Friday's chemical plant blast in east China's Jiangsu Province will receive at least 200,000 yuan (about US$25,000) in compensation for each victim.
Twenty-one of the 22 bodies were cremated Sunday morning. The family of the other fatality are not in Sheyang County where the chemical plant is located, said Han Qinghua, vice secretary-general of the Jiangsu provincial government.
At around 8:45 AM on Friday a chemical reactor exploded during a test run at the Fuyuan Chemical Co. Ltd., a Sino-German joint venture, in Linhai Township of Sheyang County. The plant, which had not begun production, was going to produce fluoro benzene for industrial purposes.
Local workplace safety officials said 71 people were inside the plant when the accident happened and 21 managed to escape.
The blast flattened two workshops and left 22 people dead and 28 others injured. It also forced the temporary evacuation of more than 7,000 local residents who have now returned to their homes.
"The accident has had a terrible impact on local people's lives and property,” Han said. ”It's shocking."
Thirty-five drums on site containing chlorine and nitric acid escaped damage and tests of air and water around the plant show there's no serious pollution.
Preliminary investigations suggest that the cause of the accident may have been worker error or a problem inside the reactor.
There was no clear evidence yet, said Sun Huashan, deputy director of the State Administration of Work Safety. He urged local authorities to investigate the company's management.
"This is a rare, fatal occurrence in the chemical industry but all chemical businesses across China must learn profound lessons from this disaster," he said.
(Xinhua News Agency July 31, 2006)