Bangladesh fire: 34 killed, hundreds injured in depot blast

A fire and a huge explosion have killed at least 34 people and injured hundreds more at a storage depot near the city of Chittagong, Bangladesh.

Hundreds of people had arrived to tackle the fire when a number of shipping containers exploded at the site in Sitakunda.

The cause of the fire is not known, but it is thought that chemicals were stored in some of the containers.

Hospitals in the area are overwhelmed and have appealed for blood donations.

Many of the injured are reported to be in a critical condition and the number of people killed is expected to rise.

"The explosion just threw me some 10 metres from where I was standing. My hands and legs are burnt," lorry driver Tofael Ahmed told AFP news agency.

Volunteers, some wearing only sandals on their feet, continued to bring bodies from the smouldering wreckage on Sunday morning.

At least five firefighters were killed in the blast and several more were injured.

Several journalists who were reporting on the fire before the explosion are unaccounted for.

The blast was so large it was heard several kilometres away and shattered the windows of nearby buildings. One local shopkeeper told reporters that a piece of debris had flown half a kilometre and landed in his pond. He described seeing "fireballs falling like rain" after the explosion.