ARUSHA: More than twenty Ministers and scores of senior officials from partner states of the East African Community (EAC) were yesterday evacuated from the Secretariat’s main building after a 4.8 magnitude shook the structure.
The officials, who included Justice Minister Tharisicce Karugarama and EAC affairs minister, Monique Mukaruliza, were attending the 22nd Ordinary meeting of the EAC Council of the Ministers currently underway at the Ngorongoro block of the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC).
AICC also houses the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. (ICTR)“We evacuated all the Ministers successfully, and no injuries were registered. It should be noted that Arusha neighbors the active Oldonyo Lengai volcano and the dormant Mt. Meru mountain and this could have been a cause for the earthquake, ” Owora Richard Othieno, the EAC Principal Public Relations Officer told reporters yesterday in Arusha, Tanzania.
According to Marc Kwame, a local journalist, Tanzania’s northern region of Arusha region has had a history of tremors shaking main buildings and sometimes leading to people sustaining injuries.
“The last time this happened was in 2007 and 2008, when the Oldonyo Lengai Mountain erupted and its after effects were felt as far as Nairobi. It left schools damaged and livestock dead,” he said.
The epicenter of Friday’s earthquake was located in Babati, 144 km south-west of Arusha.
The Ministers have for the past few days participated in a series of sessions which has seen the session of senior of officials which ran from Monday to Tuesday this week.
The session of the Co-ordination Committee (Permanent Secretaries) was also held yesterday.