The magnitude of the Tianjin explosions that killed at least 50 people and injured hundreds more was today highlighted by a new video shot from a drone that gave a shocking close-up view of the devastation.

The twisted wreckage of hundreds of cars, collapsed buildings and smouldering debris illustrated the catastrophic force of the blasts and the subsequent fires that raged at the site on Wednesday night.

In the footage a lone rescue worker can be seen walking among the wreckage, while the bright red paint of a fire truck shows up in stark contrast to the grey ash-covered wasteland.

In other images hundreds of shipping containers could be seen tossed around by the force of the blast, with many reduced to mounds of melted steel. A single 20-foot shipping container typically weighs about 4,800lb.

Xinhua reported this afternoon that no hazardous chemicals had been detected in seawater near the blast site. The state news agency reported that 177 samples had been taken.

On Friday the official death toll climbed to 55, although many netizens took to social media sites to query the figure.

Rain was this afternoon forecast to fall on Tianjin. Environmental groups have voiced concerns that the precipitation will bring to earth dangerous chemicals released in the blasts and could lead to polluted waterways.

More than 700 tonnes of sodium cyanide and other soluble chemicals were reported to be stored at the explosion site, according to the Beijing News.

Wang Lianqin, chief engineer at the Tianjin Academy of Environmental Sciences said average rainfall should not harm the environment.

Tom is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications & New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Quartz, Global Post and others.