UPDATE 10:50 p.m. EDT: Xinhua reported Sunday the death toll had climbed to 112 with 95 still missing.
Death toll rises to 112 from Tianjin blasts, and 95 missing
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) August 16, 2015
The Chinese city rocked by explosions at a chemical warehouse earlier this week was struggling in its slow recovery Saturday. Tianjin looked “like a ghost town” this weekend, local mechanical engineer Roy Keld told BBC. Keld, a resident who safely escaped the Wednesday blasts that killed more than 100 people, said seeing the area was “surreal” because it appeared so different than usual.
“Normally it’s a very busy place … full of hustle and bustle, cars, car horns all the time,” Keld said. But when he returned today to pick up clothes from his apartment, the only people around were authorities in safety masks investigating while attempting to keep the situation under control.
Tianjin -- the fourth largest city in China and home to more than 13 million people -- was devastated Wednesday by the explosions. About 700 people were treated in hospitals, with 71 still in critical condition, CNN reported.
The damage wasn’t over. Authorities ordered everyone within 3 kilometers, or about 2 miles, of the warehouse to evacuate after the area experienced an additional eight blasts and several fires Saturday. Officials warned residents that dangerous chemicals, such as sodium cyanide, could be in the air, International Business Times previously reported.
Keld said he’d also been told avoid any rain in the area should it bring down more toxic substances. The cause and effects of the explosions remained unclear. “We don’t know what’s already been released into the air,” he told BBC.
Dozens of people, most of them firefighters, were also missing Saturday. A group of their relatives interrupted a news conference to demand information about their loved ones. "I have no idea where my son is," father Liu Huan said, according to Shanghaiist. "If he is alive, I want to see him. If he is dead, I need to see his body."