Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What if it happened here?

The 7.0 magnitude quake that has flattened the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, should give East Africans pause for thought. What if a similar quake hit here? How prepared are we? As it turns out, not very. And such an event is not as rare around these parts as some would like to think. According to Professor Chris Hartnady, a former Associate Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Cape Town, “Large areas of the African continent are in an unstable, tectonically active, state and, especially in the mountain regions, substantial danger is posed to growing populations.” Between 1980 and April 2002, the continent was hit by over 50 serious earthquakes, resulting in over 23,000 deaths and injuries.

Patrick Gathara lays it all out, and has some suggestions on how we can best protect ourselves-- without spending too much.