News Africa

Friday 23 March 2018

Tanzania earthquake: 5.7 magnitude quake kills 13 and injures more than 200

Adam Withnall

A major earthquake has struck the border area between Tanzania and Uganda, causing widespread damage and killing at least 13 people.

Local authorities in northwestern Tanzania say more than 200 people have been injured and there is "a lot of damage" to the worst-hit city of Bukoba, which has a population of 70,000.

The USGS initially recorded the quake at magnitude 5.9, though that has since been downgraded to 5.7, at a depth of just 10km.

It struck near the shore of Lake Victoria at 3.27pm local time on Saturday afternoon, and tremors could be felt as far away as western Kenya, though not in the capital Nairobi.

An AFP correspondent with family in Bukoba said 10 family houses had collapsed.

"My brother was driving around town, suddenly he heard the ground shaking and people starting running around and buildings collapsing," he said.

Another correspondent for the news agency said "the walls of my home shook" in the Ugandan capital, Kampala.

And journalists in Democratic Republic of Congo said it was felt, though faintly, in Bukavu in the east, but not in nearby Goma or Lubumbashi.

"This incident has caused a lot of damage," Deodatus Kinawila, the district commissioner of Bukoba, told the BBC.

Later on Saturday, he said he did not expect the death toll to rise much further from 13. "For now, the situation is calm and under control," he said.

Images posted to social media showed the extent of the damage in Bukoba, and videos showed panic as people ran for safety.

All those who died are understood to have been inside brick structures in the city at the time, said Augustine Olomi, regional police commander for the Kagera region

A statement from the Tanzanian president's office said that he was "shocked by reports of the earthquake that caused the death of many people, injury to others and destruction of property."

Though major earthquakes there are rare, northwestern Tanzania and Lake Victoria sit along the East African Rift, an area of seismic activity where the continental tectonic plate that makes up Africa is gradually splitting in two.

Independent News Service

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News