According to the Health Ministry, 615 people were also injured in massive explosions that destroyed buildings in military barracks and countless homes in Bata.
The death toll from a series of explosions at a military base in Bata, Equatorial Guinea’s main city, has risen to 98, officials said.
Some 615 people were injured in Monday’s explosions, which started with a fire at the Nkoantoma military base in the coastal town of Bata,
President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who has ruled the country since 1979, attributed the disaster to “negligence” in handling dynamite and said the blasts damaged almost all houses and buildings in Bata.
Equatorial Guinea’s health ministry said on Twitter that it had prepared a mental health squad made up of psychiatrists, psychologists and nurses to deal with the victims of the blast.
“The damage is not only physical but also mental,” said the ministry, which gave the death toll on Tuesday, against 31.
⚠️Data of the health emergency in Bata:
🔵 615 injured:
– 316 data dump
– 299 people remain admitted to the regional hospital of Bata, the medical center of La Paz and the polyclinic of Guinea Salud
🔵 Official death toll:
– 98 deaths reported to date
Source: @La_Vice_Press pic.twitter.com/03ADU4peOH
– Health Guinea (@GuineaSalud) March 8, 2021
Images released by local media showed bodies wrapped in leaves and lined up on the side of a road, children being pulled out of piles of broken concrete and twisted metal.
Dramatic television footage of the base showed buildings torn apart, survivors picking up debris in search of their belongings. In a tragic moment, a military research team is seen carrying the body of a child from a building damaged by the explosion as the child’s father looks on in distress.
TVGE television showed Vice President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, the president’s son, visiting a hospital where the victims were being treated on Monday.
The explosions come as oil-producing Equatorial Guinea suffers a double economic shock from the coronavirus pandemic and a drop in the price of crude oil, which provides around three-quarters of state revenue.
The majority of the 1.4 million inhabitants live in poverty. The government called for international support to help with search and rescue efforts as well as reconstruction efforts.
“Following the devastating explosions in Bata yesterday … Spain will immediately send a shipment of humanitarian aid,” Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said on Twitter.