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Bangladesh: At least 49 dead and 300 injured in container fire

 Tragedy in Bangladesh, where dozens of people have lost their lives and been injured, after a fire broke out in a container storage area.

At least 49 people have been killed and more than 300 injured when a huge chemical explosion exploded at a container storage facility in Bangkok's Sitakunda, officials said today .


There are fears of an increase in the death toll , as eyewitnesses said many bodies have not yet been collected from the private warehouse, located about 40km from the main port of Chittagong in the southeastern part of the country.


The fire broke out yesterday Saturday around 21:30 local time (18:30 Greek time) at the BM Container Depot storage area. Hundreds of firefighters rushed to the scene to put it out, but an hour later several containers containing chemicals exploded.


"The report of the fire amounted to 38" dead, Elias Tsondri, the chief physician of the area, had stated earlier. " More than 300 people have been injured ," he added.


According to him, many people are still missing, including journalists covering the fire.


"There are corpses in areas affected by the fire. I saw eight or ten ", said a member of the rescue teams.


Among those injured were 40 firefighters and 10 police officers , said Chittagong police chief Anwar Hosseini.


According to him, "the death toll is expected to increase because some of the injured are in critical condition."


The huge explosion shook the buildings several kilometers from the warehouse, according to locals.


Fireballs

"The explosion sent fireballs into the sky. Fireballs falling like rain. "We were very scared and left immediately," said Mohgamad Ali, 60, a local resident.


" The explosion threw me about ten meters away from where I was. I have suffered burns on my arms and legs ", pointed out Tofael Ahmed, a truck driver who was in the warehouse.


Some of the containers in the private storage facility contained chemicals, especially hydrogen peroxide, fire chief Min Udin told reporters. "We have not been able to bring the fire under control due to the presence of this chemical," he added.


The warehouse employed about 600 people , said Mujibun Rahman, the director, who said he did not know the cause of the fire.


For his part, Muminur Rahman, the governor of Chittagong, called for an investigation into the incident. He also said that about 200 soldiers have been called in for reinforcements, mainly to prevent chemicals from spilling into the sea.


Rahman said many of the containers contained millions of dollars worth of clothes to be exported to Western countries.


About 90% of Bangladesh's nearly $ 100 billion in annual trade goes through Chittagong, according to the APE-MPE. In this large port the activity has returned from the end of 2021 thanks to the global economic recovery after the pandemic.


Fires are common in Bangladesh, where safety regulations are not respected.


In July 2021, 54 people lost their lives in a fire that broke out in a huge food processing plant located outside the capital Dhaka. In February 2020, 70 people were killed in another fire that destroyed several apartment buildings in Dhaka.


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