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Gas blast kills 13 in Ukraine apartment block

The death toll continues to rise in Saturday's gas explosion at an apartment building in the Ukrainian city of Dnepropetrovsk. Thirteen people are known to have died in the blast, but journalists at the scene are reporting a higher number. Dozens have b

The huge gas explosion rocked the ten-storey building in the Eastern part of Ukraine on Saturday morning, causing part of it to collapse.

Rescuers at the scene continued to work flat out on Sunday, frantically trying to reach the rest of the victims  A local reporter, Vlada Khmelnitskaya, said that residents of the collapsed building had organised a round-the-clock vigil:

“Groups of five people are monitoring the rescuers’ work day and night. They watch how the rubble is being cleared and help identify the dead bodies”, she said.

The recovery operation is being co-ordinated from a headquarters set up next to the collapsed building.

An investigation into the cause of the blast has been launched.  But officials are suggesting a breakdown in a gas distribution station could be behind it. The gas supply has been cut to more than 5,000 buildings in the city.

The country's Regional Development Minister says all those whose flats were destroyed will get new ones, or receive financial compensation.

Earlier, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich said the government has allocated about $US 1.4 million to rehouse the victims and their families.