A series of explosions on Sunday in Equatorial Guinea has killed 31 people, officials say. The number of those injured rose to 600.
The blasts hit a military base in the country’s central city, Bata. Moreover, officials blame poorly stored dynamite along with stubble burning by nearby farmers.
Most of the city’s homes and buildings underwent “huge damage”, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema said.
Three young children have been liberated as survivors scour the rubble.
However, they were quickly taken to the hospital, state TV confirmed.
Fears rise that the death toll could increase more as some victims may still be trapped. Some hospitals have been bewildered by the number of patients admitted, state TV reported. Moreover, it broadcast images of wounded people lying on the floor of a crowded hospital.
Video of the explosions’ aftermath showed a chaotic scene with distressed people escaping as smoke drifted over the area.
One resident said: “We haven’t slept all night. The houses were smoking all night long, and we kept hearing small explosions.”
Another described how his uncle had found the burned bodies of five members of his family.
The only opposition party, the CPDS, described the blasts as “the greatest humanitarian catastrophe in the history of Equatorial Guinea” and called on Spain, France and the United States to send aid, including rescue teams, medical staff and medicines.
The Spanish embassy said its nationals should remain at home and issued a series of emergency numbers.
According to the UN and World Bank, despite riches in oil and gas, 76% of Equatorial guinea, its 1.5 million people, live in poverty.
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