Netherlands under the shock

20 people found death in the explosion of a warehouse of fireworks
Updated Sunday May 14, 2000

Still under the shock, rescapés of Enschede in the east of the Netherlands where 20 people found death in the explosion of a warehouse of fireworks Saturday, their wounds bandage after the drama which they say to have lived like a "air crash" or a "bombardment".
The rescuers put a term at their research, " If there remain people in it, they died now ", declared with a person in charge for the police force.
Most of the victims are people who had gathered in the close streets, being unaware of the risks of explosion generated by the initial fire. investigators occupy from now on the ground to try to find indices explaining the origin of the gigantic explosion which occurred Saturday in middle of afternoon, blowing the houses and putting fire at the vehicles in the district. « Their work is difficult. There are places where heat is so intense that they cannot venture there ", explained the mayor-assistant of the city, Rinus Althof.
The Beatrix queen and the Prime Minister Wim Kok went on the spot. One could see the sovereign one of the Netherlands comforting a police officer at the edge of the tears.
The police force specified that, on the 20 dead ones comptablized, seven corpses remained to be recovered. Sunday, 62 wounded was always hospitalized, including eleven in unit of intensive care.
Some 2 000 people were also evacuated district disaster victim. Four hundreds of them spent the night in a gymnasium reconverted in provisional refuge.
Martijn Wiodboer, spokesman of the city, explained why fire had taken outside a warehouse of the company of fireworks S. E Fireworks and which it had been propagated with the storage section which contained some 100 tons of fireworks.


According to testimonys' collected by German television ARD, the explosion was so strong that pieces of glass and concrete flew to several kilometers to the round. The devastated district, almost shaven, extends on 500 square meters. The authorities refuse for the moment to come to a conclusion about a possible bond between the catastrophe and of recent fires with Enschede which the authorities suspect of being of criminal origin.
The Secretary of State to the Dutch ministry of the Interior, Gijsberg de Vries, declared with German television that it was still too early to determine the causes of the catastrophe. The police authorities buckled the zone of the disaster in a radius of 700 meters. The Prime Minister Wim Kok decided for " one thorough and independent investigation "in order to make all the light on this tragedy event.
According to television, the inhabitants of Enschede wonder how the authorities could authorize the maintenance of a deposit of fireworks in full residential district.
Un procureur néerlandais, Roelof Manscoc, a déclaré que l'entrepôt avait été inspecté il y a seulement quelques mois et qu'il semblait fonctionner conformément au permis, a rapporté la télévision allemande.

Reuters and AFP

Reproduction rights and of diffusion réservés; © The World 1999
Strictly personal use. The user of the site admits having taken knowledge of the Licence of rights of user, to accept and respect the provisions of them of them. To see the Licence.
Note: This is a computer translation of the original webpage. It is provided for general information only and should not be regarded as complete nor accurate.

Steven Krauwer, (steven.krauwer@let.
Utrecht University, Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS
Trans 10, 3512 JK Utrecht, The Netherlands
such +31 30 253 6050; fax +31 30 253 6000
[ last changes: 22-08-2000 ]