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Update on Earthquake in East Africa

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  • LRubinstein@post.harvard.edu
    I just received this message from the African Studies Council at UCLA and th ought I would pass it on to members of the group -- along with links for anyone
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 6, 2005
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      I just received this message from the African Studies Council at UCLA and thought I would pass it on to members of the group -- along with links for anyone wishing to learn more about the recent seismic event affecting peoples and areas of interest and concern to many (all?) of us.  Although reports are still conflicting about the magnitude of the quake, lives have been lost and there are significant concerns throughout the broad region including areas of Eastern DRC, Kenya, Burundi...especially in the Lakes Region.  Lee
       
      FYI -- forwarded from ASC Director Allen Roberts --
      A major earthquake struck central Africa yesterday, December 5th, with the
      epicenter located less than halfway across--and therefore under--Lake
      Tanganyika just off of the small city of Kalemie in the DRC. First
      estimates are that it had a magnitude of 6.8 on the Richter Scale. Although
      reports are conflicting, the tremor may have lasted as long as 30 seconds,
      and was felt in Nairobi to the east and Luanda to the west, with people
      fleeing buildings in both cities. A first, and blatantly insensitive report
      from an "expert" noted that there might not be much to be damaged in the
      area, whereas Kalemie is a railhead and, at least before the ongoing civil
      wars, a fairly important port as well. There are many 2-3 story buildings
      of local importance, including a textile factory, railroad facilities, and
      large Catholic mission schools and other compounds; and the area is fairly
      heavily populated. Immediate losses have been through collapse of homes in
      Kalemie itself, with casualties reported; but my worry is that a lake
      tsunami may have wiped out the fishing villages that lie all around the
      lake perimeter, perched on very narrow beaches at the foot of steep
      mountains descending
      almost directly into the lake. The area lies on the Rift and is entirely
      seismic, but a major quake is very unusual--I have found no record of one
      during at least the last century. This happens to be where I spent four
      years of anthropological PhD research in the mid-1970s, and even then,
      health services were nearly non-existent. After 30 years of civil war, and
      with the area still in conflict, there is almost certainly no local help
      available of any kind. We have to hope that Doctors Without Borders, the
      International Red Cross, or some other organization will be able to enter
      the area to help. --Al Roberts
      Very little media coverage of the quake, but one story (including the quote
      referred to above):  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4499938.stm

      Information forwarded by the UCLA African Studies Center --
      www.international.ucla.edu/africa
      And more reports currently available can be viewed at these links:
       
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