No other quake in 10 years, says expert

KIGALI - A geologist has allayed public fears of another immediate earthquake, following Sunday’s magnitude 5.0 quakes that struck Western Province.
Nkanka Catholic Church where twelve people were killed during the earthqauke. (Photo/L. Kitty)
Nkanka Catholic Church where twelve people were killed during the earthqauke. (Photo/L. Kitty)

KIGALI - A geologist has allayed public fears of another immediate earthquake, following Sunday’s magnitude 5.0 quakes that struck Western Province.

Thirty-eight people have been confirmed dead so far from the quake, which also left hundreds injured and houses destroyed in the districts of Nyamasheke and Rusizi.

Basing on geological explanations, Dr Michael Biryabarema who heads the Geology and Mining Department in the Ministry of Lands and Environment assured the public yesterday that there’s no or little possibility of another earthquake striking in the next decade.

“It (earthquake) will take decades to strongly strike again,” Biryabarema said in an interview.

He said that the area (Western Province) is prone to such natural disasters since it’s located in the Great Rift Valley.  The Rift Valley landscape, he explained, is weak to resist the underground forces which cause strong movement and deformation of rocks to the earth crusts.

Biryabarema offered advice on the standards of buildings, many of which were destroyed on Sunday.

“I think their architectural plans were not designed to withstand the force of nature,” he said.

He remarked that most of the destroyed buildings, whose rubbles killed many people, did not slide from their foundations but collapsed from the top.

He explained further: “This is a clear indication of poor construction of their walls.”
He also added that there is need for risk insurances for buildings and owners themselves in Western Province, since they are located in earthquake-prone region.

The two most powerful quakes occurred hours apart in Rusizi and Nyamasheke and neighbouring DR Congo, had magnitudes of 5.0 and 6.0, respectively.

Their epicentre, according to information posted on the US Geology Survey (USGS) website, was located in Birava in the Bukavu province in eastern DRC.

In December 2005, a powerful quake with a 6.8 magnitude hit Kalemie town in south eastern DRC and was felt in other countries in the Great Lakes region. Tremors also hit parts of East African nations last year
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