Explosion kills 2 kids, destroys 7 houses in northern Vietnam

By Ba Do, Pham Du   January 3, 2018 | 10:45 am GMT+7
Explosion kills 2 kids, destroys 7 houses in northern Vietnam
The explosion left a three-meter deep pit at the site. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

The incident happened at a scrap facility in a residential area where many warheads have been found.

An explosion took place early Wednesday in Bac Ninh Province, killing two children, aged one and five, and leaving six others injured, said local officials.

The incident, which destroyed seven houses and unroofed another 10, took place at a scrap facility in a residential area in Yen Phong District, some 40 kilometers (24 miles) northeast of Hanoi.

All what's left of the facility is now a three-meter deep pit.

The explosion was caused by explosives of unknown origin stored at the facility, said the provincial chair Nguyen Tu Quynh based on preliminary investigation. 

Police and soldiers are at the scene rescuing people still stuck under the rubble as well as clearing the site.

Nguyen Van Tuan and his family, who live 30 meters from the scrap facility, were woken up at around 4:30 a.m. to deafening sounds of the explosion as the ground shook, houses collapsed and warheads rained down.

"I run away with my wife and children, stepping over warheads. Only around 1 kilometer away from the scene, there were no more warheads, Tuan said."

Authorities estimate that the explosion could be felt as far as 5 kilometers from the scene. 

Nguyen Thi Sen (C) is distressed as her only dauther, aged 5, died after the familys house collapsed from the explosion. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Du

Nguyen Thi Sen (C) is distressed as her only dauther, aged 5, died after the family's house collapsed from the explosion. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Du

Decades after the Vietnam War ended, unexploded ordnance still threatens a fifth of the country’s land mass and explosions occur frequently, killing more than 1,500 people every year and maiming and injuring 2,200 more, according to official data.

According to the United Nations, 104,000 Vietnamese people have been killed by bombs, land mines and artillery shells since the end of the war in 1975.

Many people from poor rural areas are killed by inadvertently triggering the devices, while others die trying to cut them open to resell the explosives and scrap metal.

In August, six members of a family in the central province of Khanh Hoa died in one such blast.

Warheads found at the scene. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Du

Warheads found at the scene. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Du

Bullets, debris and broken glass are scattered all over the place. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

Bullets, debris and broken glass are scattered all over the place. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

Locals join forces in cleaning up warheads and debris after the explosion. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

Locals join forces in cleaning up warheads and debris after the explosion. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

5 houses collapsed and another 10 have been unroofed as a result of the explosion. Photo by VnExpress

5 houses collapsed and another 10 have been unroofed as a result of the explosion. Photo by VnExpress

The explosion could be felt as far as 5 kilometers away from the scene. 

The explosion could be felt as far as 5 kilometers away from the scene. 

 
 
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