China's Tianjin blasts-hit residents reject govt compensation

Thousands of residents hit by deadly blasts in a warehouse storing toxic chemicals in China's Tianjin have rejected local government's compensatory offer to either repair their homes or ask private firms to take over the properties at a price 1.3 times their market value.

Beijing: Thousands of residents hit by deadly blasts in a warehouse storing toxic chemicals in China's Tianjin have rejected local government's compensatory offer to either repair their homes or ask private firms to take over the properties at a price 1.3 times their market value.

"We will not accept the compensation offer because we cannot get a new house of the same quality as the current one or in a good area," state-run Global Times quoted an owner from the Haigangcheng community surnamed Pang as saying.

The August 12 blasts, in which 163 people were killed, affected 17,000 houses in seven residential areas, with the Haigangcheng and Qihang communities suffering the most damage.

The average home price in the Haigangcheng community the day before the blasts was 11,000 yuan (USD 1,724) per square metre.

Under the current proposal, homeowners are expected to receive 14,300 yuan per square metre.

But Pang said the current price in some areas with the same support facilities is higher than 14,300 yuan per square metre.

The lowest price of another community in Binhai New Area of the same quality as those in the Haigangcheng community reached 15,000 yuan per square metre at the beginning of September, said a real-estate agent surnamed Li.

The compensatory offer mandates that homeowners use the money to buy apartments offered by the government, with prices ranging from? 6,800 to 8,800 yuan per square metre.

Another homeowner from Jinyulanwan community requesting anonymity said she will also reject the offer, calling it a great psychological letdown to move from a high-grade residential area to government apartments.

According to Tianjin authorities, 9,420 residents have signed up for the government's offer as of September 3.

The proposal also says the government could help homeowners, who choose to repair their apartments, restore windows and doors and renovate the public areas in the buildings, and give homeowners 16 per cent of their transaction price as compensation.

A Tianjin official said on Tuesday that the government will start repairing the apartments in Haigangcheng and Qihangjiayuan on September 14 to allow residents to return before the winter starts.

When the massive explosions occurred, the warehouse had large amounts of toxic chemicals, including about 700 tonnes of sodium cyanide. Ten people -- seven firefighters and three civilians -- are still listed missing.

Those dead in the blasts include 97 firefighters, 11 policemen and 55 civilians. Hundreds remain in hospital. 

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