IHP providing UNDAC ICT Support in Equatorial Guinea
On 07 March 2021 four explosions were heard in Bata, second largest city in the Republic of Equatorial Guinea. These were ammunitions depots which exploded near military barracks and which caused extensive damages to surrounding structures. Among them were residential buildings and a newly built hospital. Initial figures from governmental sources spoke of 15 people who lost their lives and around 500 people injured, both children and adults. These figures later increased significantly into over 100 casualties and several hundreds injured.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs consulted the Resident Coordinator which forwarded a request for a United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team through OCHA’s Emergency Services Branch (ESB). On 08 March urgent medical and water & sanitation health (WASH) support were requested through the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO). Simultaneously OCHA contacted International Humanitarian Partnership (IHP) countries to inquire the availability for UNDAC ICT Support. Things progressed rapidly and on the 09 March OCHA confirmed the need for an information and communication technology (ICT) support team, to assist the UNDAC team in carrying out tasks related to damage and needs assessments, coordination and information management in country.
The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) and Emergency Services Academy Finland (ESAF), both partner organisations of the IHP network, joined forces. On 11 March two experts from Sweden and two from Finland departed from their countries, bringing pre-defined ICT equipment, to support the efforts of the UNDAC team in terms of establishing office quarters, internet and telecommunication networks, logistics and administrational support. They met up with the majority of the UNDAC team along the flight way and arrived in the affected area on 12 March.
The assignment is preliminary expected to be carried on until the 04 April 2021.