Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea: Bata Explosions, Flash Update No.4, 13 March 2021

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published

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HIGHLIGHTS

  • The UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team and UN Department of Disarmament experts arrive in Bata to support with coordination, assessments, and other aspects of the response.

  • The death toll from the Bata explosions stands at 107. At least 119 people, mainly children, remain hospitalized.

  • A state funeral for victims of the Bata explosions was held on 12 March.

  • According to UNICEF, about 150 families are displaced and staying in temporary shelters.
    Children account for nearly one-third of the displaced.

  • Updated analysis from UNITAR shows that 243 structures are heavily damaged or destroyed. 300,000 people live within a 10km distance from the epicenter of the blast.

  • The explosion site remains accessible to civilians who collect scrap metal from damaged ammunition, which poses safety and security concerns.

SITUATION OVERVIEW

A state funeral for victims of the 7 March explosions was held in Bata on 12 March. In attendance was the President, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who was accompanied by the Vice President, the President of the Senate, members of the parliament and government, members of the diplomatic corps, families of the deceased and victims, and representatives of the army and the clergy. The United Nations Resident Coordinator and several heads of UN agencies also attended the funeral ceremony. The Government will cover all of the funeral expenses. The President of the Republic applauded and thanked health workers for their role in the response and acknowledged the support received from the international community and the private sector.

On 12 March, the first United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team members arrived in-country, joining WHO, UNICEF and FAO teams already on the ground. Six of the team members have arrived in Bata, where a series of meetings with operational partners took place. Two members will be stationed in Malabo for liaison and coordination with partners and authorities. As of 13 March, the team has initiated the set up of the On-Site Operation Coordination Center (OSSOC) in Bata. The team will prioritize coordination, assessments, environment management, humanitarian financing, and information management. The team will also be joined by experts from other UN agencies including UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA and the RCO.

Furthermore, at the request of the Government, a group of technical experts from the Ammunition Management Advisory Team (AMAT) within the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), working under the umbrella of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), arrived on 12 March. Composed of five members, the team will join members of the French Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), US Embassy and Golden West experts to support demining efforts and the investigation into the causes of the explosions. The mission will also work on identifying potential risks for the population and the environment, addressing ammunition storage and handling concerns and provide riskreduction and mitigation recommendations to national authorities, as well as help prevent future explosions.

One week after the explosions at the Nkuantoma military barracks, 107 deaths have been recorded and 119 people remain hospitalized, a majority of whom are children. Initial assessments indicate that shelter and protection are the most significant challenges. Several children have lost family members and remain unaccompanied. Efforts to locate other family members are ongoing. UNICEF’s rapid assessment estimates that approximately 150 families (on average 5-6 members per family) are currently staying in temporary shelters across Bata. These families consist of 648 adults and 252 children (28%) under 15 years of age. Among the children, it is estimated that 99 (11%) are under five years old. These numbers exclude families who have self-evacuated to stay with relatives in Bata or other districts. Schools and religious residences are being used as temporary shelters. The government has also reported that ten schools were badly damaged in the blast.

Priority sectors include Health, Shelter, WASH, Protection, Food Security and Livelihoods, Nutrition, and Education. Economists working with UNDP, IMF and the United Nations Resident Coordinator Office will work on economic quantifications of damages. There is also an urgent need to strengthen COVID-19 prevention and testing.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.