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Several Days On, Residents of Bata are Still Coming to Grips with the Full Scale of a Tragedy

A munitions blast has killed at least 105 people and injured more than 600 others. Callers seeking the parents of lost children have been regularly dialing in to radio and television programs since a series of explosions leveled much of Equatorial Guinea’s largest city and sent thousands fleeing for the countryside.  Drone footage aired on state television showed block after block of public housing in the coastal city either completely destroyed or close to it, the remnants of their roofs and walls strewn across the neighborhood’s dirt roads. Officials have been forced to turn to refrigerated containers to store bodies, said the teacher and Alfredo Okenve, a human rights activist who lives in exile in Europe. Okenve said his information indicated the number of deaths was between 150 and 200, significantly higher than the government’s official toll of 105. Government has decreed three days of national mourning, declared Bata a catastrophe zone, unblocked $18.19 million for the response and appealed for international aid.