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Suu Kyi visits hundreds left homeless by Myanmar blast

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 5:29 AM EST, Fri December 30, 2011
Myanmar rescue workers search for bodies from a large unexplained explosion and fire in Yangon on December 29, 2011.
Myanmar rescue workers search for bodies from a large unexplained explosion and fire in Yangon on December 29, 2011.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • More than 1,000 local residents are taking shelter in a Buddhist monastery
  • Wooden houses near the site of the blast have been burned to the ground
  • Suu Kyi donates food and money to the people left homeless
  • Emergency services officials say the explosion is unlikely to have been the result of a bomb

(CNN) -- The pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday visited a monastery in Yangon, Myanmar, that is providing shelter to more than 1,000 people left homeless by a deadly explosion that struck a warehouse compound in a residential neighborhood of the city a day earlier.

The authorities have not given an explanation for the blast, which took place early Thursday, but members of the emergency services have said that it does not appear to have been caused by a bomb.

The explosion killed 20 people and injured more than 95, Myanmar's state-run television MR TV reported Thursday. Updated figures on the dead and injured were not available Friday morning.

The initial blast set off a fire that spread to nearby wooden houses, burning them to the ground. Hundreds of local residents have lost their homes and been forced to take temporary shelter in a nearby Buddhist monastery.

Suu Kyi, who was released from house arrest last year, met with the head of the monastery Friday before talking with several of the people sheltering there. She also donated food and money.

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Government representatives and private citizens have also gone to the monastery to provide money, food and clothes.

A police official said Thursday he didn't know the exact cause of the explosion but didn't think it was likely to have been the result of a man-made bomb. He declined to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The authorities are investigating the explosion, he said.

A fire official said Thursday that the series of explosions may have come from large quantities of sulfur, ammonia and sulfur trioxide, which becomes sulfurous acid when mixed with water, stored at the compound.

The government had been renting the warehouses out to private businesses.

Yangon is the former capital of Myanmar, which is also known as Burma.

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