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Injuries rise to 524 in Taiwan water park blaze

Updated: 06 29 , 2015 08:30
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TAIPEI -- The number of people injured by an explosion and fire in a recreational water park in Taiwan has risen to 524, local health department said Sunday.

A total of 194 people are severely injured, but no deaths have been reported yet, said New Taipei city health bureau.

Most of the victims suffered severe burns or have inhaled large amounts of black carbon dust. The injure are being treated in 43 local hospitals.

The island's health department has launched an emergency rescue routine, calling for medical institutions in nearby cities including Taipei and Keelung to help treat the injured.

A total of 183 patients in intensive care need urgent skin-grafts, according to the medical bureau of Taiwan's health and welfare department.

The bureau said it has sent out urgent calls to organ donation centers and the plastic surgery medical association for donated skin, artificial skin and albumin among other biological necessities.

At an emergency meeting Sunday, Eric Chu, mayor of New Taipei, ordered a complete moratorium on the use of carbon powder in his jurisdiction.

Authorities in other parts of the island also vowed strict ban and control on use of powders and other flammable materials in public places to prevent more accidents.

Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, expressed sympathy for the victims Sunday, and hope they all received timely and appropriate treatment.

The mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) has contacted Taiwan's Strait Exchange Foundation (SEF) to provide all possible assistance, said the spokesman.

ARATS has been actively helping the relatives of injured mainland visitors to go to Taiwan.

Fire broke out after the explosion of a large amount of flammable powder in a recreational park in Taiwan's New Taipei city Saturday evening. The park was having a Color Play Asia party attended by a total of 4,500 people, when powder ejected from a performance stage ignited, flying off in all directions and engulfing the audience.

It is the worst incidence of mass injury in the history of New Taipei city.