Five people, including a six-year-old girl, died and scores of others were admitted to the 30-bed government hospital at Gopalapatnam and the King George Hospital, following the leakage of poisonous gas from the Hindustan Polymers plant here on Thursday.
The toll was confirmed by the Andhra Medical College Principal P.V. Sudhakar and GVMC Commissioner S. Srijana.
Prof. Sudhakar said that the toll might increase and hourly monitoring of patients admitted was being done.
Utter chaos prevailed at Gopalapatnam and surrounding areas of the city following the gas leak, which is said to have occurred around 2.30 a.m. on Thursday. Many residents started feeling suffocated but were at a loss to understand what was happening. While some rushed out of their houses, others closed their windows to prevent the gas from entering their homes.
On getting information, the police and district officials rushed to the spot. The police went around the area in jeeps and asked the people to come out of their houses and move to safer places. Those who fainted or felt sick were rushed to the nearby Gopalapatnam Hospital and the KGH for treatment. All the beds at the Gopalapatnam Hospital were full. “We are giving them I.V. fluids and monitoring their condition,” said Dr. Sujatha of Gopalapatnam hospital.
VMRDA Chairman Dronamraju Srinivas said that Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy had directed the authorities to rush the affected persons to nearby private and corporate hospitals apart from the KGH.
It was learnt that 2,000 residents have been affected by the leakage and around 5,000 people were evacuated to safer places.
Prof. Sudhakar confirmed that about 100 have been admitted at KGH and around 200 in other hospitals. “About 85% are stable, but the remaining are serious,” he said.
According to him, Styrene gas affects the central nervous system and the flow of oxygen to the brain reduces.
Heart-rending scenes were witnessed at the Gopalapatnam Hospital. A little girl, aged around 5, was lying on a bed. “Someone brought her and left her on this bed. When she came here, she was almost out of her breath. We managed to rescue her. Neither her parents nor relatives are here,” said a doctor, who was attending on her.
Some of the patients were seen lying on the floor at the reception and others on the cement benches outside the hospital as all the beds were full. A little boy was lying on a stretcher as his relatives sat around him. A mother was crying inconsolably as her son was being treated.