The death toll from the series of dynamite explosions in Equatorial Guinea on Sunday has risen to 98. At least 615 people were injured, with 299 still in the hospital.
The blasts hit a military base in the country’s main city, Bata. Officials blame badly stored dynamite along with stubble burning by nearby farmers.
The death toll, updated after volunteers spent Monday searching the wreckage for bodies, is more than triple the initial estimate of 31.
Three young children were found alive and taken to hospital.
Almost all buildings and homes in the city suffered “huge damage”, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema said.
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President Obiang Nguema said the blasts had been caused “by the negligence of a unit charged with the care and protection of stores of dynamite and explosives” at the Nkoantoma military base.
The president has appealed for international aid.
In a series of tweets, the health ministry called for volunteer health workers to go to Bata Regional Hospital and for urgent blood donations.
Obiang’s son, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, vice president with responsibility for defence and security, appeared in the television footage at the scene inspecting the damage, accompanied by his Israeli bodyguards, according to AFP.
Teodorin, as he is known, is increasingly seen as the designated successor of the 78-year-old president.
The opposition party, 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.
Equatorial Guinea is a small country of some 1.4 million, with the majority of the population living in poverty despite rich oil reserves. Obiang has ruled Equatorial Guinea since 1979.