One of the major disasters in the history of Vizag was the LG Polymers gas leak which caught international attention. On the day of the LG Polymer gas leak, our team got information from a local source at around four in the morning. Volunteers nearest to the plant rushed to the spot and rescued as many people as possible.
On the morning of 7th May 2020, the deadly thick fog of Styrene gas engulfed the villages in the RR Venkatapuram locality. The gas leak happened at 3:30 AM, and we received a call from our local volunteer at 4 AM informing us about the criticality of the situation. Our volunteers close to the plant rushed to the spot and provided them with water and food. As the day went by, we mobilized food and other essentials to the people who came out and took shelter under trees and other places.
In the early hours, when people were in a panic, and there was no clear information on what was transpiring at the plant on volunteers on the ground gave live updates to our teams in the city, resulting in efficient planning of requirements for the people in need. We started setting up kitchens at various locations in the city to prepare food. Based on the advice of one of our volunteers, who is a Chemical engineer by profession, we created an antidote drink to neutralize the effect of the gas and published the recipe on social media.
We created cautionary posters, which were circulated on social media, and those became viral in minutes. Unfortunately, when everyone thought that things were settling down and we called it a day at around 8 PM, the gas leak happened again. In the middle of the night, people were scared and started evacuating their homes.
Our volunteers, with their four-wheelers, went into the villages and started evacuating people and started shifting them to the nearby safer regions. The rescue continued till 2 in the night, and when people were leaving their homes in panic, we ran social media campaigns to create awareness on the safe areas and the live situation on the ground. Finally, at 3 AM, one of our volunteers recorded a video about the normalization of the situation, which relieved many.
As many as thousands of people were evacuated, and hundreds of them were admitted to the hospitals. All of them were mainly suffering from breathing. Doctors tried to rescue them, but twelve of them died, including two children. It was not only people but even animals that were also affected due to the gas. At Least 20 animals - cows, buffalos and dogs died. On the day of the LG Polymer gas leak, our team got information from a local source at around four in the morning. Volunteers nearest to the plant rushed to the spot and rescued as many people as possible. Vizag Volunteers organization was also recognized by BBC World when our founder Mr Satish was interviewed live. BBC Telugu also interviewed our other team members, and a story was published after a few days of the leak. It was a proud moment that people have recognized our work, and we were able to give back to the community.
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