Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea: Bata Explosions, Flash Update No.1, 8 March 2021

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Situation Report
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HIGHLIGHTS

  • On 7 March 2021, 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 explosions1 . 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.

SITUATION OVERVIEW

Four explosions occurred in the port city of Bata, the country’s economic capital and the largest by population, located on the mainland. This incident occurred particularly in the armoury of the Nkuantoma gendarmerie and special forces barracks, causing extensive damage to residential buildings, as well as to the newly constructed hospital. A fire near a weapons depot at the barracks is believed to have caused the blast. Initially, the Government announced that 30 people had died and 700 were injured including women and children. The numbers are likely to increase as search and rescue efforts continue. Many more are feared to be trapped under the rubble.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs called for a meeting with the diplomatic corps on 7 March in the evening, in which the UN Resident Coordinator as well as Heads of UN agencies participated. The Government described the situation in Bata as catastrophic and called for the international community’s support to respond to humanitarian needs. In particular, the Minister of Foreign Affairs requested for urgent medical support including mobile hospitals, first aid materials, doctors, medical equipment, and medicines, as well as temporary shelter and food assistance.

Equatorial Guinea is a small country of some 1.2 million, with the majority of the population living in poverty. The health system is already stretched by the COVID-19 response, which makes this emergency critical.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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