Explosion – Africa – Democratic Republic of the Congo

EDIS Number: EX-20120304-34397-COG
Date / time: 04/03/2012 17:31:47 [UTC]
Event: Explosion
Area: Africa
Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo
State/County: Capital City
Location: Brazzeville [Army Depot]
Number of Deads: 206 person(s)
Number of Injured: 237 person(s)
Number of Infected: N/A
Number of Missing: N/A
Number of Affected: N/A
Number of Evacuated: 2000 person(s)
Damage level: Catastrophic


A morgue in the capital of the Republic of Congo has taken in 136 bodies of those killed in blasts caused by arms depot fire in the capital. More bodies were coming into the morgue Sunday afternoon. A local hospital reported at least 237 wounded people. Sunday's blasts flattened many buildings in Brazzaville and sent more than 2,000 fleeing their homes. Didier Boutsindi of the presidential office says untold numbers of people were trapped in a church that collapsed.The explosions shook houses in Brazzaville and echoed across the Congo River to the capital of the neighboring country. Didier Boutsindi of the presidential office said the explosions killed an untold number of people, including churchgoers who were trapped under the collapsed building. "Many of the faithful are trapped in the debris of the church," he said. "Several of the dead have been taken out and I confirm there are more deaths inside." He said his uncle was killed when his home collapsed on him. Other witnesses said the wounded may have included hundreds of Chinese workers. Many buildings in the area had collapsed, and twisted sheets of metal littered the streets. "It's like a tsunami passed through here," said Christine Ibata, a student. Defense minister Charles Zacharie Boawo appeared on national television Sunday to urge calm in Brazzaville and in the neighboring capital of Kinshasa. "The explosions that you have heard don't mean there is a war or a coup d'etat," he said. "Nor does it mean there was a mutiny. It is an incident caused by a fire at the munitions depot. ... At this very moment our experts are there trying to extinguish this fire so this situation does not recur." Witnesses said the explosions came from the north of the city and that the impact of the blasts threw open doors of houses in the city center. The explosions also prompted some residents of the northern part of the city to flee south. Phone networks were quickly overloaded by calls. The blasts were also heard in Kinshasa, the capital of neighboring Congo. Government spokesman Lambert Mende said the blasts blew out some windows in the center of town, but that there were no reported deaths and that the situation had returned to normal after the blasts. The Republic of Congo is often overshadowed by its much larger neighbor, Congo.

Event updates:
Situation Update No. 2 on 2012-03-05 at 05:53:46.
Situation Update No. 1 on 2012-03-04 at 20:04:00.

Syndicated from RSOE EDIS - Emergency and Disaster Information