Vizag gas leak: NDRF team will stay till the situation is under control, says chief SN Pradhan

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 07, 2020 Published on May 07, 2020

A NDRF team evacuates people from a house near Vishakhapatnam after a gas leak from a factory was reported on Thursday   -  Twitter/ @satyaprad1

No specific antidote for chemical, can be washed of in the case of mild exposure

There have been 11 deaths and 1,000 people have been directly exposed to Styrene gas leak in a factory near Vishakhapatnam, till Thursday afternoon. Till now, 20 to 25 people are critical and 250 families have been evacuated from the vicinity of the LG Polymers Plant where the gas leak occurred between 2:30 AM and 3 AM, and reportedly spread over a radius of about three km.

The incident occured in RR Venkatapuram village, Gopalapatnam Mandal in Visakhpatnam district. It affected the surrounding villages namely Narava, BC Colony, Bapuji Nagar, Kampalapalem and Krishna Nagar.

PM chairs meet

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, chaired a high-level meeting on Thursday morning, to take stock of the steps being taken in response to the gas leak incident. He discussed at length the measures being taken for the safety of the affected people as well as for securing the site affected by the disaster, an official statement said.

It was decided that a team from CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) unit of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) from Pune, along with an expert team of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur, would be rushed to Vishakhapatnam immediately to support the State Government in the management of the crisis on the ground. The teams will also take measures for resolving the short term and long term medical impact of the leak, the statement added.


Treatment for victims


According to Dr Randeep Guleria, Director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), those with mild exposure to the gas will have skin or eye irritation, and those with more severe exposure will suffer from headaches and respiratory issues.

Dr Guleria was speaking at a press conference on the gas leak in New Delhi along with SN Pradhan, Director General of the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) and officials from the National Disaster Management Authority.

“By and large, the illness due to exposure to gas is not universally fatal, in most people recovery is good, it mostly creates irritation of airways; depending on degree of exposure, effect can be high or low. But the inhalation of styrene can lead to irritation in throat and airways, wheezing, breathlessness, respiratory distress, central nervous system depression and coma/irregular heart beat if inhaled in high dose,” he said.

Suggesting the course of treatment, Dr Guleria said, “Exposed clothes have to be removed, eyes have to be washed with water, absorbent tissue can be used to clean the deposition on the skin, then people need to be monitored for breathing difficulty.”

‘Situation is much better now’

Prashan said that 250 families have been evacuated till now from the vicinity of the gas leak epicentre. “The NDRF team would stay back in the area till we are absolutely sure that the situation is under control,” Pradhan said.

An expert team of the NDRF specialising in handling chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear disasters will fly in from Pune to Vishakhapatnam, Pradhan said. “As of now, things are under control and I would say that the leakage situation is much better now, in the sense that the silo that was leaking is down to minimal and there is hardly any leakage there,” he said.

Published on May 07, 2020
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