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Earthquake In East Africa Essay

1010 words - 5 pages

On Sunday February 3rd 2008, an earthquake hit Rwanda at about 1.37pm killing at least thirty nine people and injuring hundreds. The neighboring country Congo was also affected killing six people and two hundred and thirty injured. A church is said to have collapsed in Rwanda killing ten people. The earthquake was felt in Burundi, causing electricity cut as far as the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. The first earthquake registered 6.0 in magnitude according to the Richter scale. The second earthquake registered 5.0. The Richter magnitude (M) of an earthquake measures the amount of energy released. It is based on a tracing made by a seismograph, an instrument that records earthquake displacement ...view middle of the document...

The city of Bukavu suffers from frequent landslides because the city is built on old lava flows. 15% of the town is at risk of landslides and the larger landslides occur in this micro- rift triggered by both hydrological and seismic events.
The World Health Organization (WHO) provided medical assistance to those injured and families shared the little they have with those affected by the quake. Action by churches Together (ACT) assisted those left homeless and those who have been injured especially children, elderly, pregnant woman and nursing mothers. Bukavu is also situated on the edge of Kahuzi Biega National Park which is the heart of many of the Gorilla organization community conservation projects. This National Park is home to one of the last remaining populations of eastern lowland gorillas. The government, United Nations and Humanitarian agencies had sufficient stocks to provide for all directly affected by the earthquake. However, 56 medical facilities were damaged by the earthquake and require repairs. There was no interruption of town supplies like water and electricity and the network is strong enough to survive further seismic activity.
Rwanda and Congo lie along Africa’s Great Rift Valley which makes it very vulnerable in terms of earthquakes. Several plates are said to meet in this region. Earthquakes usually occur at plate boundaries. The earthquake occurred in the Western Rift of the East African rift system. The East African rift system is approximately 3000 km long passing through eastern Africa from Djibouti and Eritrea on the north to Malawi on the south and that constitutes the boundary between the Africa plate on the west and the Somalia plate on the east. At the earthquake’s latitude, the Africa and Somalia plates are spreading apart at a rate of about four millimeters per year. The earthquake was caused by normal faulting which is associated with crustal extension. The eastern branch of the rift valley experiences more volcanic and seismic activity than the western...

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