Tremors felt in six East African countries
A powerful earthquake toppled homes onto children in eastern Congo today, killing at least two people and injuring many others in a region already beset by war, poverty and volcanoes.
"Dozens of houses have collapsed, several children were buried by the roofs of their houses," Dr. Jean-Donne Owali told The Associated Press by telephone from Kalemie, Congo, 35 miles from the quake's epicenter. He said children were brought to his clinic bleeding from head wounds. Workers in Nairobi, Kenya, were quick to rush to safety when the quake hit.
"A quake of this kind could easily produce significant damage, but I wonder what kind of infrastructure they have there in the region," said Andrzej Kijko, head of seismology at South Africa's Council for Geoscience. "There may not have been much to destroy."
The strength of the quake was reportedly felt in six countries, and prompted panic among some people working in Nairobi's high-rise offices. Witnesses said that tremors lasted for about 15 seconds.
"People came running down - scared - because you don't know what it is. You're moving this way and that," Nairobi worker Tabitha Nyambati told Reuters.
Cracks appeared in some Nairobi buildings after the quake, witnesses said. Reporters and witnesses said tremors had been felt in Rwanda's capital, Kigali, and in Bujumbura, capital of Burundi, as well as in Congo, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.
The desperately poor region has camps for tens of thousands of refugees from wars and economic collapse in Congo and Burundi. Much of region, known as the eastern DR Congo, has been ravaged by war in recent years and is blighted by poor communications and infrastructure.
Related: CNN/AP, BBC News
Tags: Earthquake, Congo, East Africa, Media by Sistrunk