Brazzaville blast toll 'stands at 180'

2012-03-06 13:57
Brazzaville - At least 180 people were killed in the Brazzaville munitions depot disaster, with 1,340 people injured, the Republic of Congo's health minister announced on Tuesday after visiting hospitals.

"It's difficult to say, but there are 180 dead in the morgues," the minister, Georges Moyen, told journalists, suggesting the toll from Sunday's explosions which devastated part of the city could rise further.

The last official toll on Monday put the number at 150.

The minister was speaking during a visit to the university hospital in the capital, where medical tents have been set up outside the building to cope with the influx of victims. Some of the injured are being treated in hospital corridors for lack of ward space.

International aid for the victims has arrived from France, Morocco and neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, following an appeal by the government in Brazzaville.

"The greatest needs are in orthopedics," said Moyen.

A plane carrying a 25-person medical emergency unit and five tons of material from France arrived in the early hours of Tuesday.

Morocco sent a 173-person contingent, including 20 doctors and 16 nurses.

Some 3 000 people have been left homeless after a series of huge explosions at a munitions depot devastated the Mpila district in the east of the capital early on Sunday.

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