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    Death Toll from Chemical Plant Blast in China Climbs to 44

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    Earlier, the official China Central Television (CCTV) reported that an explosion took place at around 2:50 p.m. (6:50 GMT) local time at a chemical plant in the city of Yancheng, Jiangsu province.

    Chinese authorities reported that the chemical plant blast in Yancheng climbed to 44 people, while 32 people are still in critical condition and 58 sustained grave wounds.

    "As a result of the incident at the Tianjiayi plant, 44 people died, 32 people are in critical condition and 58 people are in grave condition," the city mayor Cao Lubao told reporters on Friday.

    The provincial authorities said in a statement, shared with Sputnik later on Friday that around 640 people had been hospitalized with various injuries after the powerful explosion.

    "At the moment, 3,500 medical workers and 90 ambulance cars are involved in providing assistance. Around 640 people have been transported to 16 hospitals," the document read.

    Local authorities reported that nearly 3000 factory workers as well as some 1000 locals were evacuated from the area.

    Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for putting all effort into rescuing people and neutralizing the effects of the deadly blast at a chemical plant, local media reported.

    Xi had also given instructions to draw lessons from the situation, the CCTV broadcaster reported.

    Previously, the local fire department said in a post on its official Weibo account that at least 12 people who were injured in the explosion on Thursday have been rescued by firefighters, while 6 died.

    READ MORE: Explosion Near Chemical Plant in China Kills 22, Injures 22 More (VIDEO)

    Meanwhile, the China Earthquake Networks Center said on its official Weibo account that it detected a 2.2 magnitude earthquake at 2:48 p.m. local time at the site of the blast.

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