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Tuesday, 1 January, 2002, 10:10 GMT
'40 dead' in Chinese fireworks blast

Latest reports from China say more than 40 people died in Sunday's huge explosion at a fireworks factory in the eastern province of Jiangxi.

According to local media, at least 34 more bodies have been found by rescue workers, with many people still missing.

The official Xinhua news agency is still putting the number of dead at nine.

It is still not clear precisely what caused the explosions, which destroyed a warehouse and 10 workshops at the Panda Export Fireworks Company in the rural town of Huangmao - a centre of the fireworks industry.

Thousands of people are said to have fled the area for fear of further explosions.

Another explosion occurred in the same area in March, killing 42 people, most of them schoolchildren.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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