AT least 200 schoolgirls have been hospitalised in the Indian capital Delhi after a gas leak from a container depot, police have said.
The pupils had complained of irritation to their eyes and throats.
The gas is believed to be chloromethyl pyridine, a chemical used to manufacture pesticides and insecticides.
While the school in the Tughlakabad area was fully vacated, the children are not believed to be at serious risk.
Delhi Chief Fire Officer Atul Garg said two fire engines, a hazmat (hazardous materials) van and rescue teams had been sent to the government-run girls’ school.
“Students and staff members of Rani Jhansi school were evacuated, and the entire area has been cordoned off,” he said.
Delhi Police and India’s National Disaster Response Force are working to identify the chemical, and how it leaked.
“Around 200 children were admitted to four hospitals for treatment. No-one is serious. The situation is normal now,” police Deputy Commissioner Romil Baaniya told reporters.
In a tweet, India’s health minister sent his prayers to those affected and said hospitals were on standby.
Gas leaks are reasonably common in India, with many caused by failure to comply with safety standards.
Six people died in 2014 when a poisonous gas leaked at one of India’s largest steel plants in the state of Chhattisgarh.
A toxic gas leak in Bhopal in 1984 killed at least 25,000 people, and is still considered the world’s worst industrial disaster.
— BBC News