MAG has launched an emergency safety campaign to support communities affected by a devastating munitions depot explosion in N’djamena, the capital city of Chad. 

Nine people were killed and more than 40 injured when a fire set off explosions at a military ammunition depot in the city during the night of 18 to 19 June 2024.  

The explosion in the Sahelian nation spread explosive ordnance and ammunition across a wide radius, exposing civilians to potentially deadly risks. Reports on social media have shown that explosive ordnance has been found in residential areas.  

Evidence of dangerous behaviours have also been identified with people posing with artillery shells and moving them by hand.  

MAG’s digital risk education experts are using geo-targeted Facebook and Instagram messaging to engage local people about how to stay safe following the explosion.  

Caroline Bruvier, MAG’s Project Manager in Chad, said: “This incident unfortunately caused significant damage to people and property and it projected munitions up to 15 km around the explosion site.   

“Some of these munitions exploded directly, causing immediate damage, but some of them did not explode and therefore still represent a danger to people. This munition can now be found in large parts of the city, and it is important to protect communities from this danger.  

“MAG, in collaboration with the Haut Commissariat National de Déminage (HCND), has decided to launch a social media campaign to help the people of Ndjamena with messages to provide them with information on safe behaviours to adopt, but also to promote the hotline set up by the HCND to intervene on munitions identified by the population.”  

Robin Toal, MAG’s digital explosive ordnance risk education manager, said: “Social media provides us with a highly cost-effective method of delivering life-saving information to affected communities fast. In situations like these a rapid response is essential and serves to reduce the risk of harm and keep people safe from potentially deadly consequences”.  

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The campaign is scheduled to run for two weeks and aims to reach an audience of more than 200,000 people in the affected areas, with messages warning people not to touch the unexploded munitions which were thrown out by the blast. 

The messages on Facebook and Instagram include a helpline number for people to report findings of unexploded items. 

MAG has been working in Chad since 2004 to reduce the daily risk of death or injury from landmines and unexploded bombs, and create safe and secure conditions for development free from armed violence. 

MAG undertakes weapons and ammunition management projects across Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America to reduce the risk of unplanned explosions such as the one that happened in Chad. 

MAG’s work to ensure weapons and ammunition are managed and stored in line with international standards also helps reduce the diversion for illicit use and helps prevent and reduce the impact of armed violence.

Learn more about MAG's work in Chad here