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Equatorial Guinea: Bata Explosions - Mar 2021

Equatorial Guinea
Disaster types
Technological Disaster

On 7 March, a series of explosions occurred at an armoury of the Nkuantoma Gendarmerie and military barracks in Bata (the economic capital of Equatorial Guinea). According to state media reports on 8 March, at least 30 people have been killed and 700 wounded in the explosions. These numbers are likely to increase as rescue teams continue to search for survivors. The explosions have caused widespread damage to residential buildings. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation has called for international support describing the situation as catastrophic. Medical and WASH support is urgently needed including mobile hospitals, medical and WASH equipment, and medicines. Temporary shelter, food assistance and psychological support for victims are also critical. (OCHA, 8 Mar 2021)

A series of explosions on Sunday in Equatorial Guinea is now known to have killed 31 people, officials say. The number of those injured rose to 600. The blasts hit a military base in the country’s main city, Bata. Officials blame badly stored dynamite along with stubble burning by nearby farmers. Teams including volunteers continue to search the wreckage of buildings and homes for victims. There are fears the death toll could rise further as some victims may still be trapped. In a statement, President Obiang Nguema said the blasts had been caused “by the negligence of a unit charged with the care and protection of stores of dynamite and explosives” at the Nkoantoma military base. He said the base had “caught fire due to neighbouring farmers clearing farming land by setting it alight, leading to the explosion”. The president has appealed for international aid. (AOAV, 9 Mar 2021)

The National Red Cross Society’s initial assessments identified at least 3,900 people (780 households) as directly affected, including 400 households (2,000 people) in Nkuantoma Military Camp, 100 households (500 people) in Mondong, 150 households (750 people) in Razel and 130 households (650 people) in Nkuantoma neighbourhood. This figure was corroborated by satellite imagery from UNOSAT issued on 13 March indicating that some 603 structures were damaged, 238 of which were destroyed and 365 severely or moderately damaged. Many people living within the vicinity of the military camps were able to return to their homes 72 hours after the explosions. However, multi-sectoral needs assessments planned to start from Monday 22 March by the UNDAC team and partners will determine the extent of the humanitarian impact. (OCHA, 21 Mar 2021)

On 13th April, the Government of Equatorial Guinea, through the Emergency Committee, and the United Nations launched a coordinated Humanitarian Response and Recovery Plan for Equatorial Guinea following the tragic events of 7M. The Plan aims to provide urgent assistance to some 16,000 women, men, girls, boys and adolescents affected by the explosions through provisions of life saving support (food, health and WASH), as well as support the rapid restoration of access to basic services, support to recovery of livelihoods and rehabilitation of destroyed homes and/ public infrastructure. The plan seeks a sum of US$10.6 million for a period of one year. (OCHA, 30 April 2021)