Tianjin blast death toll rises to 129 almost two weeks on

 Local people pray for victims as they lay the flowers and light candles outside the Taida hospital after a huge explosion rocked the port city of Tianjin, China, on Aug 15, 2015.
Local people pray for victims as they lay the flowers and light candles outside the Taida hospital after a huge explosion rocked the port city of Tianjin, China, on Aug 15, 2015. PHOTO: EPA

BEIJING (AFP) - The death toll from a series of explosions nearly two weeks ago that rocked the northern port city of Tianjin rose to 129, state media reportedon Monday.

There are still 44 people missing and 610 are in hospital, 39 of them critically injured, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing local officials.

The explosions at a hazardous goods storage facility on August 12 triggered a giant fireball and new fires broke out as recently as Friday.

China's powerful State Council, or Cabinet, has vowed to conduct a "rigorous" investigation into the cause of the explosions, Xinhua said on Saturday.

The owners of the hazardous goods storage company at the centre of the incident, Rui Hai International Logistics, reportedly included the son of a former police chief who used his connections to help the firm obtain the necessary permits and pass inspections.

The blasts have also sparked fears of toxic pollutants contaminating the air and water of the city, which has a population of around 15 million people.