Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Toxic cloud from Ukraine not yet in Romania

BUCHAREST, July 17 (Xinhua) -- The toxic cloud from Ukraine has not yet reached Romania, Madalina Cozma, spokesperson of the National Agency for Environment Protection, said on Tuesday.

The monitoring stations have so far not found any higher air toxicity in northern Romania as a result of the poison cloud caused by the derailing of a goods train carrying phosphorus in the Ukrainian city of Lvov, about 300 km away from the border with Romania, Cozma said.

According to the spokesperson, the agency has been monitoring the air every half an hour.

"The toxic cloud is 300 kilometers away from the border with Ukraine but we did not know how serious the situation is and how much it will affect Romania. At present we are monitoring all dusts that might be harmful," said Cozma.

Ukrainian Vice-Premier Aleksandr Kuzmuk, who heads the crisis cell for liquidating the consequences of the railway accident on Monday evening, said on Tuesday that the situation could not be predicted but admitted that "the derailment of the 15 carriages carrying yellow phosphorus threatened Ukraine on Monday evening with a second Chernobyl," the Ukrainian news agency Unian was quoted as reporting.

The Ukrainian authorities declared a state of chemical alert in western Ukraine in connection with the derailment of 15 carriages carrying yellow phosphorus, on a train made up of 58 carriages. Following the accident six carriages caught fire and discharged toxic fumes.

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