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tv   Headline News  RT  April 18, 2013 2:00am-2:29am EDT

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more left seriously injured. fire is still raging after the explosion in the texas town of west with many buildings leveled and local residents advised to evacuate from the area. you're watching with me andrew farmer to our top story two people are confirmed dead and two hundred injured in a blast that ripped through a fertilizer plant in the u.s. state of texas and we cannot get more the latest from our man who joins us from the states. danny thanks for joining us again what more do we know about the rescue efforts or has been a few hours hasn't it since the blast. well andrew rescue efforts are becoming all the more difficult because of the possibility of another explosion that can rip
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through the plant at any moment we know that there is another fertilizer tank which is which is intact and there is a huge fire there and we also know that. also because because of rising talk sick fumes or so it is very hard for rescue teams to get there we know that the firefighters the firefighter team that first responded to the explosion is now unaccounted for those are four or five. according to some some of the reports at least four of them are reported missing at the moment so firefighters are being kept as we understand. at a certain distance maybe they can't get as close as possible to the affected areas because because of the threat of this explosion because because of the danger that
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they might face themselves so this is becoming more and more challenging for rescue services here again firefighters have been called to the plant to battle a small fire that was around seven pm local time crews were working to bring the blaze under control when the explosion the big explosion happened at around seven fifty pm local time so to give you an idea of how big it was the explosion has registered as a two point one magnitude earthquake and we now we know that it has killed according to local media seventy people and injured hundreds as of now no official numbers have been released we know that the danger is not just just. it's not just the fire but also the chemicals toxic chemicals that the wind keeps spreading around the area. do we know more
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you mentioned that we don't know an official confirmation of the number of deaths but is expected to be many many more isn't it because there was so much collateral damage you mean a fireman was on our program just a few minutes ago saying that something like seventy hands in the bar that were literally leveled and also. an old person's home where one hundred thirty three people were residents there so the expectation is that actually this death toll could be much much higher. that's right andrew the blast the explosion happened near a residential area near a residential area in this town of west texas so there are reportedly dozens of people trapped in their homes. again officials. some reports are saying that there are there have been dozens of dozens of
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casualties up to seventy we heard that number but again there are no confirmed numbers as of now because the officials say they want to be cautious because they want to have these people identified first before before they are able to tell whoever or you know their relatives who might be calling in and asking about them because this is this is a very tragic moment for for this town in texas again with many people been giving eyewitness accounts to what happened including a fireman he was at the scene and we can now hear from him. i can tell you i was there i walked through the blast area i searched some houses earlier tonight massive just like iraq just like the murray building in oklahoma city same kind of exploded so you can imagine what kind of damage we're looking out there. i know there was at least seventy five to fifty fifty to seventy five houses
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damaged there's apartment complex that has about fifty units in it that was completely. just skeleton standing and there's a nursing home in the area that one hundred thirty three people in the nursing home we've got them evacuated i don't know what their injuries are are there right now but all injuries have been removed from the scene and taken to local hospitals in the waco area we had numerous agencies helping us all the way from the dallas fort worth area mclennan county limestone field bosky and all the surrounding areas so we've had a great turnout. to come out to help us get through this tragedy that we've had in this small community. so even he did give an eyewitness account there to give you an idea of the destruction that was close but just at the moment danny can you tell us about the treatment the people are receiving and all the hospitals meting like a hospice on the one way but also one for their field in haste and do we know much about how they are being able to cope and what sort of treatment they hunted to
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give to people also have injuries people have received. well you would expect the injuries that we we heard are you know chemical inhalation this is this is just one one of the one of the things that people are suffering from there so. being told to prepare for hundreds more excuse me not a not hundreds but a very large number of injured we are given the number of around one hundred people injured this is by the department. of public safety there in texas what we know what we have seen from the helicopter from the footage that we're getting is this is this. makeshift hospital on a on a football field and people being treated in an urgent manner before those with
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serious injuries were flown to hospitals nearby but as of now we hear that there are around one hundred people injured two confirmed deaths. although local media say there were many more seventy people we would get the number seventy people but it was that this is not the conference the numbers have not been confirmed but what is absolutely clear is that this was a massive massive explosion that flattened dozens of buildings nearby and there could be many more people trapped in those buildings gani thank you very much we will leave it there for the moment we speak again sure as this story develops thank you so again in the united states ati's correspondent. well i'm now joined in the studio by correspondent sean thomas schoen lived in the states for a long time you very familiar with texas we've seen from the pictures that this is a remote area how on earth can it be how to deal with
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a disaster like this just in terms of treating the number of people that have been injured well if you look at the good news if you can say that there's any good news coming from this is that in the united states local agencies state agencies and federal agencies all work together so that if something like this does occur they are prepared maybe they're not they're not really expecting it to happen to their community but then they have to main tain some level of vigilance so that if it does happen in their community they have at least some idea of what to do so the good news is it looks like that level of response has paid off for that level of training has paid off so it comes in stages the first stage is responding to the initial disaster in this case the fire and the explosion you have the fire department coming out to fight the fire assess the scene you have the explosion so you have emergency crews responding to this wide blast area where they have to assess the situation and as they're responding to that at the same time you have
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emergency management teams coming in to create the staging area for the larger disaster of the disaster that is continuing as it were and that's where you see a very organized setting up of a staging area or a tree on area on a football field at a high school where they can look at the damage look at the injured see who needs the most help who can just be taken care of right there at the scene or who needs even more medical attention and then transfer to other facilities that can cope with such a disaster now you've heard from the authorities that they're working with people in waco and in houston waco to the south about eighteen miles and then houston up to the north we have six helicopters that are working with this very local very small town under three thousand people who live in the town of why. texas so you can imagine an event of this size having such an impact on this tiny tiny community so you have the cordon nation efforts where they work with the hospitals to the
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south waco only one hundred twenty five thousand people in that city as well so they have their own response plus they have to coordinate with this disaster but it looks like this training and this level of response did exactly what it intended to do it allowed the people of this a very small community not typically equipped to deal with something like this be able to handle it as best as they can and probably even better than have they not have the training in the first place we had a few minutes ago from a chap called robert jacobs he's from the hiroshima peace institute effectively he's a guy who's has expertise in talking about the potential threats chemical chemical contamination from a from an accident like this and we can just quickly i believe what his assessment was of this disaster. fertilizer as we know is extremely combustible so it's been used in bombs and so
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it's manufacture is extremely delicate and can easily if handled wrong or if handled in safely can lead to explosions so we have to assume at this point that it is such a chemical explosion that happened there at the plant when you're handling chemicals like this there is a possibility that there can be chemical contamination that could be would need to be cleaned up in the aftermath of the explosion so they'll undoubtedly be extensive monitoring of the areas around the plant in order to make sure that whatever chemicals have been spread around can be cleaned up to reduce future toxicity to the residents with the kinds of winds that blow in such big intense fires there will be airborne distribution. so there's nothing that can be done while the event just happening what will be done is is assessment and cleanup in the aftermath currently people are being evacuated because of the dangers to for further explosions for fire to spread and also for spread around of some of the chemicals
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from the plant however those will almost certainly be deposited close to the plant and it will be possible to get in there make assessments and do cleanup of the area in the future so those are the primary dangers so that was robert jacobson his expertise in the potential contamination effects in the explosion like this we're now joined on the line again by the end in the united states. dan if you can just talk to you just quickly robert jacobson expert potential contamination issues surrounding a blast like this and we now also understand that the place fer the paper to evacuate. west is that your understanding because of the potential effect of the toxic kind from this plant. that's right and also because of the possibility of this and of another explosion that could rip through the plant and through this the area this plant is next to
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a residential area. we heard witnesses saying that they saw apartment buildings they saw a nursing home engulfed in fire so as far as of now we have two people are confirmed dead in the explosion but judging by the huge impact that the explosion had on the surrounding again residential area that number could be much higher rescue teams are now struggling to get to these people but again because of the toxic fumes rising and because of the possibility of another explosion rescue efforts are becoming all the more difficult ok again it will keep you on the line there so we're joined by a guest from affairs analyst professes that he. is not correct you know you able to him me that he was thank you what's your. initial analysis of
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what's happened. well i have only two possibilities in mind one is that it's. another fear of regulation by the state of texas and by the u.s. government to address arch of private corporations that have not to adhere to safety regulations seems like a reprisal of the gulf of mexico oil spill by b.p. yeah and we know today that fat you know the next one the other one is possibly you know it's a terrorist or dagger or potentially linked to the all of the old story of anarchy sent these are really just in texas and they're only one city which happens. you know so there are two possibilities but not me that mr charlie at that it was an artistic talent not just plus in it can you tell me what you've said there is conjecture we do not know the cause of this accident and what might of course to say what you're saying is is speculation but i mean what what what what basing that
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on. well you know the track record shows that america especially the state of texas has consistently been a good internet republican regimes it was already of jeb bush and now with rick perry rick perry is on record saying that i wake up every morning trying to make government as in consequential for the people as possible so if government doesn't play a role in regulating industries and ensuring safety standards you have you know the same issue you know in the soviet you know it was general believe india we had bob oh and it looks like this is another major industry calamity that can be pointed to the failure of the state to regulate the private industry properly i mean this is not it's commonsensical speculation and doing the other one of course is that it could be a restart act but i don't really represent state failure and unfortunately for america it's coming go right on the heels of a recent terrorist attack in boston so it looks like you know sometimes misfortune
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comes up in a pile and that's what's happening right now and it's revealing some of the weaknesses of the u.s. today and its regulatory architecture ok so we haven't either you're speculating about the coaches and potentially breaches in security perhaps lapses in safety over say what do you think will be any reaction from washington. well i think you know president obama has been trying to reregulate some of the moves and completely out of control sectors of the u.s. economy chemicals you know this is a fertilizer plant chemical energy pharmaceuticals these are some of the biggest lobbies in american capitalism and these are the ones that have been fighting hard to the need to prevent any kind of reasonable regulations that would benefit the public so this is the time when i think you know the federal government really need to you know push harder to try and change the scenario otherwise you know we've got our weed. you know energy or no chemicals it looks like americans and disappear and
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for it to emerge or to feed the latest farmer hand coming from the central government which unfortunately is easy is nowhere to be seen because of the power of the lobbies in the u.s. congress and what can we expect about the consequences of what might follow now in terms of the people have been affected those that have been killed those things health has been badly affected by your saying that people are suffering from the effects of inhalation of toxic fumes from your view what do you believe that we can expect to see in the aftermath. well in india in one nine hundred eighty four we had this great industrial disaster of hope out and i still remember initially it was thought to be a localized one it could be continued ended up you know killing nearly twenty thousand people and the effects of them were still of those that of those that try to be still with the people of central india in what part of so i think you know we're living in a time when you know the environment and all these you know core concerns of the
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earth are being disregarded by very very greedy capitalist lobbies and the point is that the states are all being called upon to step in and save the societies and to play a protective rule and to regulate these industries better and i must say that you know what has happened texas you seem to magic of the larger issue of our economy where we are lost in the mornings in terms of how to regulated managed industries and unfortunately this is repeating itself after the b.p. oil spill which proved clearly that regulators were unable to rein in some of these are in sharks so is this the same case now happening with chemicals and before the lasers and and other other sectors in texas you have to wait and see but i think i think we are going to security lapse audit sort of figure of regulation no matter what the outcome and the word iggy's both of them show how we can the state structures have been in these new really countries like the united states and the
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u.k. and elsewhere and the car look i think the ultimate significance of these kind of tragedies will be for people to push for stronger regulation of these of these greedy corporations that are completely disregarding people's lives in the search for shutdown bruff ix. and just finally the details are still very sketchy not entirely sure what sort of chemicals are involved a lot like the long term effect but it from your opinion and what you experience particular knowledge of by power potentially what could be the damage oh i hope i mean if it's omonia as they're saying and i'm not a scientist but i feel that it could last into the here and spread further and further and they may have evacuated. you know radius fukushima we saw that in japan again you know the nuclear industry was in. cahoots with the regulators and they got away with
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a lot of foot shark carts and. you know you say like you know penny wise pound foolish as the saying goes what these garbage cans do lease you know try to cut corners in order to balance their sheets and to gain marginal profits but in the process their business in the last of the society into the global commons is tremendous so i would not like to speculate on what how far if you go and how soon it can be contained but certainly i think the way we need and what you can see you know how to be in a war footing now could try and limit the damage to the actually epicenter not click it spread further america of course it has the technology and the government to missionary the risk form but the bigger question is are the failure of the start as in the cause we need to prove these people are and to see how these things could have been prevented why they're not being prevented why do we keep having gotten rid just if we want to do one something once in this country and then it goes back to normal so these are some of the core public policy issues of the nation invite
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the students the plea to the city to do justice to its own people. ok we do have to leave it there mr cho thank you very much for your time that's world affairs analyst professor that i am. well i'm joined in the studio at the moment by sean thomas. correspondent who has spent many years in the states and is very familiar with texas we get that from that angle is that he believes there could be breaches in safety and security for new experiences that is an ongoing issue in texas well not necessarily i mean there you look at the situation of b.p. which he referenced there and there were clear violations of you know safety standards and what we're looking at a small town we're not looking at a big huge corporation this is a rural community with a small company that is dealing with basically fertilizer for their constituents in the area so i wouldn't i think it's really too early to say if there's safety
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issues of safety regulations of course we can point fingers as to this didn't happen this. did happen or in a way that it wasn't supposed to i think of it it's safer to look at what's happening in the larger investigation wait until they actually get in there take a look at what happened before we can see or make any kind of statements like that but generally. i wouldn't see it being a problem on such a large scale ok well just to update people in case anyone is just switched on and wondering what they're looking at that has been an enormous explosion at a fertilizer plant in texas in the town of west just north of waco i. see people are confirmed dead but it's fate the death toll will be much much higher this explosion not only occurred at the plant but it wiped out these seventeen high rises were blown out by the size of this blast which logical experts say measured two point one on the richter scale it just gives you an idea of the size of it also
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affected was a residential home that was nearby one hundred. thirty three people believed to have lived. many of the trapped in this believe. the services which you can see on your screens and i still look the same trying to get to those people have also heard reports that four or five firefighters who were initially at the scene unaccounted for at the moment so we can we have been hearing from eyewitnesses throughout this morning and also looking at the foot huge but i can also believe we can hear from an eyewitness account now. i don't know exactly what happened just now want to joyce and i got down there with. to go check on her to pass the nursing home which their house blew out. then. we were on the corner of the national they are starting to work and people were
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just very book about i don't know but we've. already got people in there to help and they ran down the hall which was totally blown. off this sitting you know four year. which you hear there the need to stress the can from an eyewitness. you mentioned earlier that this is a local community many people would respond by trying to help we have just heard that the firefighters are actually asking people. to not come to the st to try and join the ethical bring blankets because presumably they have what they require but that is essentially of the small nature of this community in the. nature of this community and the impact it could have indeed and if you look at it on a larger scale as well we've seen it in boston we've seen it in new york for september eleventh when something of this magnitude happens in the united states or
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anywhere in the world really people want to help and they want to do what they can from a genuine place of respect and empathy to try and ease the pain of the people who are going through this and so earlier i mentioned when we were on the phone that you're going to see people coming up with blankets food doing canned food drives to try and get the resources to the people who have lost pretty much everything in this disaster. people trying to give blood and this is where i would caution anyone who wants to help to really pay attention to the authorities to listen to what their needs are if they need blood to give blood if they need canned food give canned food but don't even though it's tempting to want to get involved people who rushed down there and trying to help can just find themselves getting in the way one thing that i'll point out is you saw this sea of emergency vehicles the sea of lights this is a town of less than three thousand people there is no way that all of those urgency resources were there in that town waiting for
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a disaster like this to happen this is an example of local state national resources all coming together as they were trained to do so they know what they need and when they need something in specific they will ask for it so pay attention to what locals are saying or local law enforcement and emergency response teams are saying before you just try and dive in to help in some way. well as i said we have been hearing that for five firefighters and a kind to many firefighters as you said still at the scene trying to contain this blaze but this also fears of another blast that could happen here. and also concern over any toxic cloud which could emanate from these plants now what's the geography like in this area is there a threat saying well certainly about there is and first if you look again at the anatomy of a disaster you have the first initial disaster that the emergency response teams respond to so in this case a fire at a plant they get to the fire and explosion happens now you have missing
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firefighters people who really do put their lives on the line to protect for the health and safety of the people in the community and then we have an evolving disaster of the continuing disaster if you will as you mentioned there is this other tank that is being threatened by the fire and it could also exploded causing an even larger problem then we also have this ammonia gas cloud which is part of the fertilizer process and hydrous ammonia. if that is released over this area then you have another piece of the puzzle of why it's so difficult to to respond to situations like this in this particular case wide open area very rural small community there it's just one of many unincorporated tiny little villages in this area so good news from from that perspective is that you
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can dissipate over this wide open area and hopefully do less damage than if it were in a confined or mountain area or trapped in a valley somewhere so that's the good news in this case ok so we're just looking for me but i believe we've got to get back on the line with this yani can you hear us correspondent in the states. gary thank you for coming back with this being to show him that talking about the potential for toxic. to cool was another problem with emergency service is what are they saying about that at the moment. well they aren't that the biggest worry probably at the moment that another explosion may happen and that is something that that is in the way of rescue efforts it is a big problem for rescue efforts a huge challenge two people are confirmed dead in this.


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