Liquid ammonia leak kills 15 people, injures 25 at cold storage plant in Shanghai

BEIJING — At least 15 people were killed Saturday after liquid ammonia leaked from a refrigeration unit at a cold storage plant in China’s financial hub of Shanghai, the local government said.

Twenty-five people were injured in the accident, which happened at a plant in the Baoshan district of the east coast city, the Shanghai government Information Office said. Five of the injured were in serious condition.

 The government identified the plant as Weng’s Cold Storage Industrial Co. Ltd., but gave no further details. The cause of the leak was not immediately known and investigations led by the city’s work safety bureau were under way, it said.The Information Office said an environmental monitoring station in the district did not detect any negative impact from the leak.

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Deadly China heat wave declared ‘weather emergency’

The heat wave in China has left dozens dead and triggered a “Level 2” weather emergency, a label normally used for typhoons and flooding.

China heat wave: A man passed out from high temperatures.

Rescuers save a man who fainted due to high temperature in Hengyang, central China’s Hunan province on July 31, 2013.


SHANGHAI — It’s been so hot in China that folks are grilling shrimp on manhole covers, eggs are hatching without incubators, and a highway billboard has mysteriously caught fire by itself.

The heat wave, the worst in at least 140 years in some parts, has left dozens of people dead and pushed thermometers above 104 degrees in at least 40 cities and counties, mostly in the south and east. Authorities for the first time have declared the heat a “Level 2” weather emergency — a label normally invoked for typhoons and flooding.

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Sudden Animal Deaths in Central Chinese Village

Commentary By Gordon King
I just have to put my two cents in on this issue.  Many people may read this and say, so what!  Animals die off all of the time.  They don’t die off in the numbers we have seen over the past two years!  It just has not stopped.  It is unrelenting.  Masses of animals, birds and fish are dying very frequently and consistently without letting up.  I just posted a video by Pastor Paul Begley, Whaaaaaaat?  Are you Serious?!  Are you Serious?!  Regarding dozens of birds flying into buildings and dying.  What in the world is going on?!  End time signs, that’s what.  Read on and God Bless!

Thousands of animals have been mysteriously dying in China over the past few weeks, with 410 pigs, 122 dogs, and other domestic animals in Dongtun village, Henan Province, added to the list on Monday.

Dead dogs were reported to be piled on the sides of the streets, and residents said many of the surviving animals are ill. Numerous cats died, and even dead rats were found.

“There are more than 300 pigs on my pig farm; nearly 200 died, and the rest are dying,” said a villager called Mr. Song, according to a report by the Dahe Daily.

Local authorities are investigating the cause of the deaths, and tests have ruled out the new H7N9 bird flu virus, which has reportedly infected 77 people and killed 16 to date.

Instead, locals suspect that the deaths are due to noxious fumes from a nearby chemical plant. The plant has temporarily stopped production, although officials said air quality tests had not revealed any dangerous chemicals.

“There is always a smell, but this morning it was unbearably strong and repulsive,” a local resident told the Dahe Daily.

The plant makes pharmaceutical products, and has been in operation for over 10 years. Residents have repeatedly complained about the environmental pollution, but without results.

In the past two years, the emissions got worse and many locals have been suffering physical symptoms. “The gas makes people feel dizzy, and hurts our throats. Many people in the village died of cancer between the ages of 30 and 50” a resident said, according to the Daily.

A reporter with Henan Business Daily said he saw a dozen walnut trees next to a pig farm with darkened wilting leaves, and a lot of the local residents had swollen throats.

A security guard at the chemical plant stopped the reporter from entering. He had apparently received an order from upper management, and said, “The unreal reports by the media had damaged the factory’s credibility.”

A Weibo blogger said: “410 pigs died overnight, 122 dogs died for no reason, the birds fell down while they were flying, the hedgehogs just stopped crawling … and the factory claimed that the unreal reports damaged its reputation …”

Another joked: “The tests did not find any harmful chemicals in air samples from the village, so the animals died of being investigated for corruption?”

The carcasses are being disposed of in a remote area by burying them in a deep pit sprayed with lime.

Other recent mass animal deaths in China include 16,000 pig carcasses dumped in Shanghai’s Huangpu River, hundreds of pounds of dead fish in Shanghai and Beijing, and dead wild birds in Jiangsu, Hubei, and Sichuan provinces.

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UN investigating possible human-to-human transmission of new deadly bird flu in Shanghai

Woman in face mask via Shutterstock

By David Ferguson
Thursday, April 18, 2013

Chinese health officials are reporting that the new H7N9 strain of influenza could be making the leap from animal-to-human infections to human-to-human cases. According to Reuters, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention is analyzing “family clusters” of people who have fallen ill in hopes of understanding more about the virus.

“We are paying close attention to these cases of family clusters,” Feng Zijian, a spokesperson for the Center, said on Wednesday. “(We) are still analyzing in-depth to see which has the greatest possibility — did it occur first from avian-to-human transmission, and then a human-to-human infection, whether they had a common history of exposure, were exposed to infected objects or whether it was caused by the environment.”

Dr Zeng Guang of the the Center’s chief of epidemiology was quoted in the South China Morning Post as saying that 40 percent of patients who have contracted the virus have not had any contact with poultry or birds that could spread the disease.

“How were they infected? It is still a mystery,” he said.

The current number of confirmed infections stands at 82, 17 of whom have died.

“Further investigations are still under way to figure out whether the family cluster involved human-to-human transmission,” Feng told China Daily. “Human-to-human transmission, in theory, is possible, but is highly sporadic.”

Among the cases that scientists are studying are the deaths of a Shanghai father may have passed the virus to his two sons and another Shanghai man who may have given the disease to his wife.

The World Health Organization, which operates under the aegis of the United Nations, is sending a team of experts to China to study whether the virus has mutated into a human-to-human transmissible form. Currently, however, there is “no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission.”

Viruses which are only capable of limited human-to-human transmission and can spread between family members through prolonged contact and intimate exposure are considered lower risk than viruses that are capable of effective human transmission, and spread through casual contact like norovirus and the flu.

The H1N1 avian virus that infected people in 2009 and 2010 was of limited human transmissibility, and as a result, caused hundreds of thousand deaths rather than millions. An avian flu that is capable of effective human-to-human transmission could potentially pose a global health emergency.


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China pulls 1,000 dead ducks from Sichuan river

Dead pigs along Songjiang, Shanghai - picture released 10/3/13 The news comes amid concerns over the 16,000 dead pigs found in Shanghai’s Huangpu river

Around 1,000 dead ducks have been pulled from a river in southwest China, local officials say.

Residents found the dead ducks in Nanhe river in Pengshan county, Sichuan province, and alerted the environmental department, they said.

Local residents and livestock were not at risk as the river was not used for drinking water, officials added.

The news comes as the toll of dead pigs pulled from Shanghai’s Huangpu river passed 16,000.

Speaking in an interview with China National Radio on Sunday, Liang Weidong, a deputy director in Pengshan’s publicity department, said that the authorities were first made aware of the ducks on Tuesday.

Officials discovered over 50 woven bags which contained the carcasses of around 1,000 ducks in the river.

They were unable to determine the cause of death as some of the ducks were already decomposed, Mr Liang said, adding that the bodies had been disinfected and buried.

An initial investigation suggested that the duck corpses had originated from upstream and were not dumped by local Pengshan farmers, he said.

‘Thick soup’

The news has prompted concern and criticism from some users on weibo, China’s version of Twitter, with many expressing incredulity at the government’s assurance that the water is safe.

“Dead pigs, dead ducks… this soup is getting thicker and thicker,” wrote one person with the username Baby Lucky.

“The dead pigs haven’t even disappeared yet, and now the dead ducks emerge – does this society enjoy being competitive?” wrote netizen sugarandsweet.

“The dead ducks in Pengshan river present us with a very practical problem, and show how society’s bottom line is getting lower and lower,” weibo user If So said.

The news came as Shanghai’s municipal government confirmed that over 16,000 pigs corpses had been pulled from Huangpu river, which supplies drinking water to Shanghai.

The work of fishing out the dead pigs in the river was “basically finished”, the government said in a statement released on Sunday.

Workers have been pulling dead pigs from Huangpu river for the past two weeks, sparking concern amongst residents and on China’s microblogs. It is still not clear where the dead pigs came from.


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Shanghai River Pigs Increasing

The number of dead pigs retrieved from waters in and near China’s financial hub of Shanghai has reached 12,566


BEIJING —The number of dead pigs retrieved from waters in and near China’s financial hub of Shanghai has reached 12,566.

Authorities in Shanghai plucked 611 dead pig carcasses Saturday from Huangpu river, which provides drinking water to the city’s 23 million residents. In total, 8,965 dead pigs have been found in the river since March 8.

The swollen and rotting pigs are largely believed to be from the upstream city of Jiaxing in neighboring Zhejiang province, but Zhao Shumei, a deputy mayor, said it was inconclusive to say all the pigs were from her city.

Jiaxing – where small hog farms are prevalent – reported Friday night that it had recovered 3,601 dead pigs from its streams, according to state media.

The head veterinarian for China’s Agriculture Ministry, Yu Kangzhen, who has traveled to the region to investigate the deaths, told state media Saturday that there has been no major swine epidemic, but said some samples tested positive for the common porcine circovirus and the epidemic diarrhea virus.

Yu also said cold weather and fluctuating temperatures have caused a spike in deaths among baby pigs.

Villagers have told state media that pig dumping is on the rise following police campaigns against the illicit trade of pork products harvested from diseased pigs that were illegally sold, instead of properly disposed of.

In Shanghai, authorities have repeatedly assured residents that tap water is safe, but locals remain worried about water contamination.

In 2012, about 130,000 Jiaxing hog farmers raised more than 7 million pigs, according to state media.


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Number of pigs in Shanghai river rises to 8,354

A photo taken through the window on a boat shows dead pigs collected by sanitation workers from Shanghai's main waterway on March 11;2013.

A photo taken through the window on a boat shows dead pigs collected by sanitation workers from Shanghai’s main waterway on March 11;2013.     Photo Credit: Peter Parks, AFP/Getty Images


BEIJING – The number of dead pigs found in a Shanghai river that provides drinking water to the Chinese financial hub has risen to 8,354, after local authorities pulled 809 more pigs out of the river on Friday.

The Shanghai municipal government has repeatedly assured the city’s 23 million residents that tap water is safe. Shanghai locals, however, remain worried about water contamination from the swollen and rotting carcasses in the river.

The dead pigs are believed to be from hog farms in the upstream Jiaxing area in neighboring Zhejiang province. A surge in pig dumping has followed police campaigns against the sale of pork products made from diseased pigs.

Chinese state media say one Jiaxing hog farmer has admitted to pig dumping and is under investigation.