August 19, 2022

12 people were killed and 251 were injured in a chlorine gas leak at the port of Jordan

12 people were killed and 251 were injured in a chlorine gas leak at the port of Jordan

(Reuters) – At least 12 people were killed and 251 injured when chlorine gas leaked from a storage tank in the Jordanian port of Aqaba, officials and state media reported on Monday.

Officials said the leak came after a tank filled with 25 tons of chlorine gas that was being exported to Djibouti fell while it was being transported.

A video posted on state television’s Twitter page showed a storage tank falling from a crane and hitting the deck of a ship, followed by yellow gas rising into the air as people fled.

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Health Department officials said they expect only a small number of people will remain in hospital by Tuesday.

Chlorine is a widely used disinfectant and water purifying agent, but if inhaled, the gas turns into hydrochloric acid, which can lead to internal burning and drowning by triggering a water reaction in the lungs.

Officials in Jordan said that grain silos in Aqaba have halted work to allow grain to be inspected and look for any signs of contamination, but that maritime traffic at Aqaba ports continues.

They added that there were no ships unloading any cargo of grain at the time of the accident.

The port of Aqaba, located at the northern end of the Red Sea, has long been a major transit route for Iraqi imports and exports.

State TV reported that Prime Minister Bishr Al-Khasawneh arrived in Aqaba and went to a hospital where he treats some of the wounded.

State television quoted the Minister of Information as saying that Al-Khasawneh also formed an investigation team into the accident, headed by the Minister of Interior.

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(Covering by Moataz Muhammad, Omar Fahmy, Naira Abdullah and Suleiman Al-Khalidi). Editing by Deepa Babington, Mark Porter and Lisa Schumaker

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