Mine blast toll rises to 77
THE death toll from the horrific explosion last week at the Guangxi Kenpeng Mine has risen to 77, with 87 of the injured still in hospital, local government officials said yesterday.
The causes of what is probably the most serious industrial accident in Guangxi in recent years were still under investigation yesterday, and officials have expressed concern that poor weather in the coming week could worsen the situation.
Officials were still checking the identities of the victims, many of whom were disfigured beyond recognition in the explosion.
Continuous rain has made access to the mine difficult.
Officials have had to rely on radios to communicate with the relief teams despatched to the area, which is 90 kilometres from Huanjiang's county administration.
The death toll is expected to rise this week as many of the victims were seriously injured and the area lacks modern medical facilities.
According to a Huanjiang county government official both the Labour and Agriculture ministries have sent inspection teams to the site to investigate the accident.
An official of the Huanjiang Mine Administration Office said 40 privately owned and county owned mines in the area had been shut down pending further investigations. Only two state-owned mines which had better safety facilities were still operating.
The Government was short of cash and could not give the victims' families adequate financial assistance, he said.