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A chemical container has exploded in Buenos Aires, Argentina, blanketing the capital in a huge toxic cloud. Residents are being told to stay inside while a mass evacuation from the area surrounding the blast has been ordered, local media report.
The container filled with pesticide caught on fire after a chemical reaction between its contents and exploded. As the flames were put out, yellow smoke billowed out of it. City officials believe the container may have been transporting garbage.
"The pesticide presents a low level of danger and affects the respiratory tract," said Sergio Berni, the national Security Secretary, as quoted by C5N television channel.
The incident hit the city's Port Terminal 4 early in the morning. Several buildings in the port and the surrounding area were evacuated, according to Buenos Aires's Civil Defense. Residents in near-by areas were told to stay indoors, close their windows and turn off air conditioning.
The cloud spread past the centre of the city to southern neighbourhoods, reaching as far as Lanus in Buenos Aires province, some 15 kilometres away. The city government is advising people to stay indoors and close windows and doors, and the Ministry of Health has put all hospitals on red alert.