By. M. M. Mwanakijiji
Ten people are reported dead and scores more injured in Tanzania on Saturday following an earthquake measuring 5.7 on Richter Scale that hit the northwestern lake zone. According to the US Geological Survey which monitors geological activities around the globe the earthquake hit about “44 miles from Bukoba, close to the northwestern shore of Lake Victoria”
Other media reports show that the tremors were felt in several cities around the epicenter including Kigali in Rwanda, Burundi as well as some parts of Kenya and Uganda. The epicenter was located at about 15 miles from the small town of Nsunga on the border of the Lake Victoria.
Pictures from the area show collapsed buildings, split roads and residents scared and scarred by one of the most feared natural events in the world. So far according to the Regional Police Commander (RPC) Augustine Ollomi (right) at least ten people have been reported killed and close to a hundred have been injured.
The Tanzanian government has already initiated a search and rescue operation in the area with the military taking a lead role. Some of the schools have been turned into makeshift hospitals and temporally housing for those who couldn’t go back to their houses.
Earthquakes in Tanzania are not new or unique. Throughout the year there are tremors in several parts of the country especially those located in or around the East African Rift Valley. Historically, the biggest recorded earthquake hit Tanzania (then Tanganyika) on 12/13/1910 in Lake Tanganyika in the Southwestern part of the then colony. That earthquake measured at 7.6. In comparison, the recent earthquake in Italy which killed 296 people measured only at 6.2.
While Tanzania –as many other rift valley nations – is prone to earthquake civil and military assets have not been well organized or adequately funded to deal with a catastrophic earthquake especially if it hit major urban areas.
President Magufuli has issued his condolences to the Regional Commisioner and it is rumored that he will visit the affected area as soon as possible probably earlier next week.