Fatalities in massive chemical explosions in China’s Tianjin city have risen to 145 as local authorities say they will build a memorial park in the core disaster zone to commemorate victims.

The identities of all 145 victims have been confirmed. A majority of the death toll came from rescuers, who arrived immediately after the first blasts and were hit by more explosions. A total of 88 firefighters and nine policemen were killed, Tianjin government’s press office said on microblogging site Weibo on Thursday.

tianjin explosions
Biochemical experts working on the TIanjin blast site. Photo: Wechat

More than 400 people remain in hospital while 28 others are still unaccounted for more than two weeks after the horrific blasts tore through a logistics port next to residential areas in Binhai District.

Chief of the Binhai district government Zhang Yong said a “high level memorial park” is planned in the area which was worst hit by the explosions, according to Beijing newspaper Jinghua Times.

Zhang also vowed to deal with water, soil and air pollution caused by chemical leaks and make the area a “nicer, more comfortable and more livable place” than before.

Tianjin blast aftermath. Photo: EPA
Blast crater in the port of Tianjin. Photo: EPA

Authorities are assessing damages to residential buildings and civilian properties in order to work out a compensation plan.

Eleven officials and 12 company executives have been arrested as the nation’s highest level of prosecutors stepped in to investigate the cause of the explosions and why chemical warehouses were allowed to be built just a few hundred metres away from homes.

tianjin explosions
The Tianjin explosion site. Photo: Wechat

Meanwhile, over 570 soldiers and biochemical experts are still working on the explosion site to help move hazardous chemicals and monitor the biochemical environment there, a spokesperson of China’s defense ministry said at a routine press conference on Thursday.


Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.