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Jordan chlorine gas leak death toll rises to 13

#Jordan #chlorine #gas #leak #death #toll #rises

Thirteen people were killed, including at least four Asian migrants, when toxic chlorine gas leaked at the port in Jordan’s Red Sea port of Aqaba, officials said.

More than 250 people were injured in Monday’s accident, 123 of whom remained hospitalized, according to the latest toll update on Tuesday.

Most were treated for the effects of inhaling chlorine gas, a common cleaning agent that also has a number of other industrial uses and can be used as a chemical weapon agent.

The port began returning to normal on Tuesday, with all docks set to reopen except Dock Four, where more security checks were to be carried out, Interior Minister Gen Mazen al-Faraya said.

“The situation in Aqaba is now under control,” Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh told state television late Monday after visiting the port.

The chlorine escaped when the cable snapped from a crane loading a tank of LPG onto a ship, causing it to fall to the ground at the port.

The force of the fall punctured the pressurized container and enveloped the freighter Forest 6 in a veil of the bright yellow gas, which television images of the closed circuit from the port showed.

The overturned white tank, punctured and stained yellow where the gas erupted, came to rest on the dock next to the Forest 6 ship. Ship-tracking websites say the deck cargo ship was built just this year and flies the Hong Kong flag.

The nearby South Beach, popular with tourists, was evacuated after Monday’s accident, as were adjacent residential areas, but residents were later told they could return to their homes.

Aqaba Tourism Authority official Nidal al-Majali said the lack of wind on Monday helped prevent the gas cloud from spreading outside the port.

Jordan’s port of Aqaba is the country’s only sea gateway and a transit point for the lion’s share of its imports and exports.

Chlorine has a number of industrial uses and is notorious for its use as a chemical weapon in World War I. It attacks the respiratory tract, skin and eyes.

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