Sunday, 13 December 2009

Earthquakes in Malawi: December 2009

A quick overview of the fragmented press coverage on the earthquakes in Karonga District in Malawi in December 2009.

A series of earthquakes and tremors hit Karonga District, in the Northern region of Malawi between Sunday 6th and Tuesday 8th December 2009.

The Facts:

Magnitude of Earthquake: 5.9 on Richter Scale
Depth: 10km
Region: Northern Region - Karonga District
Population: 1.2million
Alert Status: Orange (medium humanitarian impact) (Source)
Injuries: 6 (hospitalisation)
Deaths: 1 child (building collapsed)

On the ground reports:

Sources on the ground in Malawi reported that tremors were felt as far south as Mzuzu (110 miles south of the epicentre of the tremors). One text I received from travellers stated 'I thought my bed was being shaken by someone, but I realised that the floor was moving, all that and torrential rain and thunder! Scary!'

Comments from people in Karonga have focussed on the confusion and fear they are feeling, with many opting to sleep outside their houses, in case they collapse.

The District Commissioner stated that he had set up a task force to assess the damage and respond to what could be an impending crisis if the aftershocks continue.

Why did it happen?

Part of Malawi sit in the Great Rift Valley, a deep valley that has grown due to the movements of tectonic plates that cover the earth, creating our mountain ranges. Other tectonic areas are places like indonesia, Los Angeles and the himalayas.

Numerous sources from the BBC to Reuters have reported on the story, this post pieces them all together.

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