At least 300 people have been injured and about 20 persons have died in a series of explosions in Bata, Equatorial Guinea, the country’s health ministry says.
Images on social media showed a huge plume of smoke hanging over the main city of Bata.
State television showed people looking for survivors in the rubble and lifting up debris from collapsed buildings.
Reports say at least four explosions were heard in the city of Bata, the cause of the explosions is unclear, but they came from an area near a military camp.
In a series of tweets, the health ministry asked for volunteer health workers to go to Bata Regional Hospital. It has also asked for blood donations due to the high number of casualties.
It listed three hospitals where the “seriously and very seriously injured” were being transferred.
Some local hospitals have been overwhelmed by the number of patients admitted, local television station TVGE reported. It broadcast images of wounded people lying on the floor of a crowded hospital.
Video posted on social media of the aftermath of the explosions showed a chaotic scene of distressed people fleeing as smoke drifted over the area.
WATCH: Significant devastation after multiple explosions in Bata, Equatorial Guinea. Number of dead unknown, hundreds injured pic.twitter.com/aiFDxyEv7g
— BNO News (@BNONews) March 7, 2021
“We hear the explosion and we see the smoke, but we don’t know what’s going on,” one local resident, Teodoro Nguema, told the AFP news agency.
In a tweet, France’s ambassador Olivier Brochenin sent his condolences to the victims, describing the event as a “catastrophe”.
The Spanish embassy has said its country’s citizens should remain at home and issued a series of emergency numbers.
Equatorial Guinea was a Spanish colony until independence in 1968.