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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 September 2018

Two children die in Vietnam explosion

Official says blast was in community where families collect and sell scrap, including war ordnance 

A policeman walks across debris after a big explosion razed homes and shattered windows of surrounding buildings in the northern province of Bac Ninh on January 3, 2018. Hoang Dinh Nam / AFP
A policeman walks across debris after a big explosion razed homes and shattered windows of surrounding buildings in the northern province of Bac Ninh on January 3, 2018. Hoang Dinh Nam / AFP

A baby boy and a five-year-old girl were killed in an explosion east of Vietnam's capital Hanoi on Wednesday that destroyed several houses and injured at least eight others.

Authorities are investigating the cause of the blast in Bac Ninh province's Yen Phong district, which occurred at 4.30am.

The explosion flattened four homes shattered the windows of surrounding buildings.

A one-year-old boy and a girl were killed, according to a report from the provincial health department seen by AFP.

At least eight others were injured by the blast, district authorities said.

Resident Nguyen Thi Tap told AFP her house was badly damaged by the explosion, which jolted her from her sleep.

"We were so scared. I thought thunder had struck my roof … I hugged my daughter and the doors crashed down on us," she said.

According to a local official, the explosion happened in an area "where there are many families involved in collecting scrap [metal]".

Salvage of metal from the tonnes of Vietnam War-era bombs that still blanket the country often ends in tragedy.

In August, six people were killed, including three children, when a war-era bomb exploded in Kanh Hoa province. Reports at the time suggested it detonated as scrap workers cut it open.

Since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, more than 42,000 people have been killed and more than 62,100 injured by unexploded ordnance dropped by US aircraft, according government figures.

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