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The city that exploded: how China’s growth led to the Tianjin disaster

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The 2015 warehouse explosion in Tianjin was one of the worst manmade disasters in Chinese history and exposed the darker side of rapid urbanisation

It was almost midnight on a summer Wednesday in 2015 when Xiumin Hu was jolted awake by a loud noise. Her apartment building in the affluent Harbour City development was shaking violently. She ran from the bedroom to find her husband standing in the study, looking out of the window.

From here they could see out over the port of Tianjin; one of the warehouses was on fire. They backed away from the window just moments before the warehouse exploded in one of the worst manmade disasters in Chinas history.

Although Hu and her husband were unscathed, 173 people died at Ruihai International Logistics, a warehouse that was storing thousands of tonnes of hazardous chemicals. Hundreds more people were injured and thousands displaced on 12 August. Videos of the explosion went viral on social media. To the world, the tragedy became known as the Tianjin explosion. To locals, its 8/12.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/may/23/city-exploded-china-growth-tianjin-disaster-inevitable

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