USAID is responding to devastating explosions in Equatorial Guinea on March 7, 2021, by working closely with partners to provide humanitarian assistance, including multi-purpose cash assistance. Photo credit: US Embassy Malabo
On March 7, a series of large explosions at a military base in Litoral Province's Bata city—the country's largest city—resulted in at least 105 deaths, injury to more than 600 people, and significant damage to nearby houses and buildings, including a hospital that housed the country's only COVID-19 testing site, the UN reports. The explosions were the result of a nearby fire that detonated improperly stored ammunition and explosive materials at the military base. Hospitals in the city were overwhelmed with injured victims, and urgently required emergency medical supplies, while other priority needs included emergency shelter materials and water, sanitation, and hygiene support, as well as assistance clearing the affected area of unexploded ordnance. The Government of Equatorial Guinea appealed for international assistance for response and recovery activities following the blasts, and government authorities and relief agencies rapidly mobilized resources to conduct search and rescue efforts, assess damage, and respond to humanitarian needs among the affected population.
On March 8, the U.S. Embassy in Equatorial Guinea requested USAID/BHA assistance in responding to the humanitarian impacts of the explosions in Equatorial Guinea. In response, USAID/BHA is providing $150,000 to support the provision of multi-purpose cash assistance to affected households to meet immediate needs. USAID/BHA also deployed a disaster response expert to Equatorial Guinea to assist humanitarian assessment and coordination efforts.