Ghana Residents Report Earthquake

A file picture of the Ghanaian Flag
A file picture of the Ghanaian Flag

 

Several people living in Ghana late Wednesday reported that their walls shook in what appears to have been a light earthquake.

According to MyJoyOnline, a Ghanaian news website, parts of the Greater Accra, Central Region, and their surrounding areas experienced the tremors which took place at about 10:40 pm and occurred three times in the space of 10 minutes.

A Nigerian tech investor living in Ghana, Victor Asemota, said his “wall and glass table” vibrated. And the co-founder of Iroko TV, Jason Njoku, said he “felt it too.”

 

According to VolcanoDiscovery, a website dedicated to volcano photos and information, the Ghana earthquake had a magnitude of 4.0.

Light earthquakes are measured between 4 and 4.9 on the Richter scale and generally cause no damage.

Although the country is well removed from the major earthquake zones of the world, Ghana is prone to earthquake disaster, according to one academic paper published in 2003.

In 2018, the BBC reported an earth tremor in Accra.

 

Powerful Quake Strikes Mexico Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Security tape alerts people of a damaged building after a quake in Oaxaca, Mexico on June 23, 2020. A 7.1 magnitude quake was registered Tuesday in the south of Mexico, according to the Mexican National Seismological Service. PATRICIA CASTELLANOS / AFP
Security tape alerts people of a damaged building after a quake in Oaxaca, Mexico on June 23, 2020. A 7.1 magnitude quake was registered Tuesday in the south of Mexico, according to the Mexican National Seismological Service. PATRICIA CASTELLANOS / AFP

 

A powerful 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck southern Mexico on Tuesday, leaving one person dead but an initial tsunami warning was later reversed.

The epicenter was near Crucecita, in the southeastern state of Oaxaca, with shock waves felt as far away as Mexico City, some 700 kilometers (430 miles) distant, where it sent frightened residents rushing into the streets.

The US Geological Survey reported that the quake struck with a magnitude of 7.4, at a depth of 23 kilometers. After initially publishing a reading of 7.1, the Mexican Seismological Service revised its figure to 7.5.

“It’s confirmed it was a 7.5 magnitude. Fortunately there’s no damage, in any case we’re going to continue to call for caution as there may be aftershocks and we must all take care without worrying,” said President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in a video published on social media.

“Strategic installations didn’t suffer any damage, that is to say, ports, airports, refineries, hydroelectric plants, everything is in a good condition,” said Lopez Obrador after speaking to David Leon, the national coordinator of Mexico’s Civil Protection force.

Oaxaca Governor Alejandro Murat told Milenio TV station that “there was a small collapse, one person was injured and another died,” adding that the state suffered minor damage.

Mexican Oil said its refinery in Salina Cruz, Oaxaca had been shut down as a precaution after a fire broke out “that was immediately stifled.”

One person was injured while other refineries in the state are operating as normal.

The US Pacific Tsunami warning center initially said hazardous waves as high as three meters could strike anywhere within 1,000 kilometers of the quake’s epicenter, affecting the Pacific coast of Mexico and Central and South America.

However, a few hours later it said the threat had “largely passed.”

Quake adding to virus woes

Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum also activated response protocols, although she said there had been “no major incidents” reported.

The earthquake was felt in several parts of the capital of 8.8 million people which in 2017 was hit by a 7.1 magnitude quake that left 360 people dead throughout the country.

That same year, 96 people died after an 8.1 magnitude quake struck the south of the country, with Oaxaca the worst affected state.

The quake has hit at a time when Mexico is already reeling from the coronavirus pandemic.

It has suffered more than 22,500 COVID-19 deaths — the second most in Latin America — and 185,000 cases.

Medical staff were evacuated from some hospitals in the capital alongside patients, although those suffering from the coronavirus remained isolated inside the buildings, alongside their carers.

“All those that are in an area with COVID patients remain inside, only those of us who weren’t there at the time” have come out, said Jaime Gomez, a nurse at a hospital caring for coronavirus patients.

Many of the people that fled into the streets of the capital were wearing face masks.

“With all the virus problems and now the tremors, and I’ve just lost one child and the other is ill, so imagine (how I’m feeling),” a tearful Maria Teresa Duran, 80, told AFP.

The quake took many people by surprise in the capital, including some working from home due to virus lockdown measures.

“We were working in our pyjamas, finishing off breakfast and then we had to get out like this,” said 29-year-old Sonia Flores Cano.

 

AFP

Turkey Confirms Eight Dead After Iran Border Earthquake

A map of Turkey used to illustrate the story.
A map of Turkey used to illustrate the story.

 

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said Sunday eight people were killed in eastern Turkey after a 5.7 magnitude earthquake hit neighbouring Iran, the official Anadolu news agency reported.

He said three of the dead were children, adding that some other people were believed to be trapped under the rubble.

Turkish broadcaster NTV showed images of damage in several villages in Van province on the Iran border.

“Search and rescue efforts are ongoing,” Soylu said.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said 21 people were injured and eight of them were in critical condition, according to Anadolu.

The epicentre of the quake, which struck at 9:23 am (0553 GMT), was near the Iranian village of Habash-e Olya, less than 10 kilometres (six miles) from the border, according to the US Geological Survey.

The earthquake had a depth of six kilometres, according to Tehran University’s Seismological Centre.

It injured at least 25 people and damaged a number of houses in four villages of Iran’s West Azerbaijan province, Mojtaba Khaledi, a spokesman for the country’s emergency services, told AFP.

Anadolu said the quake caused damage in several villages in  Van province.

The province was struck earlier this month by two avalanches which killed 41 people.

In 2011, an earthquake measuring 7.1 hit near the cities of Van and Ercis in eastern Turkey, killing more than 500 people.

 

AFP

6.2-Magnitude Earthquake Hits Papua New Guinea

 

A 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck Papua New Guinea on Sunday, the US Geological Survey said, but no tsunami warning was issued and there were no immediate reports of damage.

The quake hit just after 4:00 pm local time (0600GMT) at a depth of 31 kilometres (19 miles) some 122 kilometres (75 miles) south of Kokopo, the capital of PNG’s East New Britain province, the USGS said.

Geoscience Australia senior seismologist Trevor Allen said coastal communities near the epicentre would have felt “quite strong ground shaking” as the tremblor was close to the shore.

But, he said, the area was relatively sparsely populated and flexible building design locally helped limit exposure to damage from quakes.

“The East New Britain region is one of the most seismically active regions in the world and would generally tend to get an earthquake of this size once or twice a year,” he told AFP.

Miriam Koikoi, a receptionist at Kokopo Beach Bungalow Resort, told AFP the shaking was “not that big” and she had not seen any signs of damage.

PNG sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, which is a hotspot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates.

Its mountainous and remote terrain means it often takes several days for information about damage from quakes to reach officials and aid agencies.

Rescue Operations Intensify As Turkey Quake Death Toll Rise To 29

Rescue workers work amid the rubble of a building after an earthquake in Elazig, eastern Turkey, on January 25, 2020. BULENT KILIC / AFP

 

The death toll from a powerful earthquake in eastern Turkey rose to 29 as rescue workers raced against time Saturday to find survivors under the rubble.

The magnitude 6.8 quake struck on Friday evening, with its epicentre in the small lakeside town of Sivrice in Elazig province, and was felt across neighbouring countries.

The Turkish government’s disaster and emergency management agency (AFAD) said 29 died in Elazig and in nearby Malatya while nearly 1,500 had been injured.

The update came as a quake with a 5.1 magnitude hit Sivrice later Saturday.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cancelled a speech in Istanbul and attended the funeral of a woman and her son in Elazig. He later visited Malatya.

He vowed the state would do “everything we can” to help those affected in a disaster he described as a “test”.

AFAD said 43 people had been rescued alive from collapsed buildings in Elazig. An estimated 19 others remained trapped in the rubble.

Turkish news channels showed live images of people rescued. Among those pulled out alive was a woman called Azize who had contacted emergency authorities and spoken to a rescue worker by telephone, state news agency Anadolu reported.

Freezing temperatures 

Almost 24 hours after the quake, officials then rescued a woman and her two-year-old child in her arms alive, CNN Turk broadcaster reported.

Over 3,500 search and rescue personnel were working in the region while tens of thousands of beds, blankets and tents have been provided, the presidency said.

The rescue efforts have been taking place in freezing temperatures as wood and plastic were burned to keep crowds warm.

Hundreds of people anxiously waited on the other side of police barriers including a man who gave his name as Mustafa.

“I have three relatives in that building: one man, his wife and her mother,” the 40-year-old told AFP.

“I was home during the earthquake. It lasted for so long, it was like a nightmare. I froze in the living room when it happened, my wife and our two children were screaming and running around,” he said.

He added that some neighbours jumped out of the windows in panic as families including his were forced to spend Friday night on the streets.

Rescuers cleared the rubble one bucket at a time surrounded by broken wooden beams and concrete.

‘Screaming in terror’ 

Sivrice — a town with a population of about 4,000 — is situated south of Elazig city on the shores of Hazar lake — one of the most popular tourist spots in the region and the source of the Tigris river.

The lake is home to a “Sunken City”, with archaeological traces dating back 4,000 years in its waters.

Among the 1,466 people injured were residents in other southeast provinces including Diyarbakir and Sanliurfa.

Tensions were high as one resident accused the government of lying.

“They (the government) claim that only four people are trapped under the rubble. It is not true. I have five relatives in that building,” Suat, a 45-year-old butcher, said.

“There are four floors and three flats per floor. If there were five people per flat, do the math. Why are they lying?”

Suat described the moment when the quake struck as he was at home in another neighbourhood and his children “were screaming in terror”.

The Ankara public prosecutor’s office said it had begun an investigation into “provocative” social media posts but did not give further details.

Erdogan also told citizens to “ignore gossip and negative propaganda”.

 Tremor felt elsewhere 

The tremor was felt in several parts of eastern Turkey near the Iraqi and Syrian borders as well as in Iran, Lebanon and Syria.

Officials said 72 buildings had collapsed while 514 were badly damaged and 409 had limited damage in the affected region.

The US Geological Survey assessed the magnitude as 6.7, slightly lower than AFAD, adding that it struck near the East Anatolian Fault in an area that has suffered no documented large ruptures since an earthquake in 1875.

There have been 462 aftershocks including 14 that were above four in magnitude, AFAD said.

In 1999, a devastating 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit Izmit in western Turkey, leaving more than 17,000 people dead including about 1,000 in Istanbul.

Experts have long warned a large quake could devastate the city of 15 million people, which has allowed widespread building without safety precautions.

Such fears were acutely awakened in September last year when a 5.7-magnitude earthquake shook Istanbul, causing residents to flee buildings in the economic capital.

AFP

Rescue Operations Ongoing To Recover Bodies Of Turkey Earthquake Victims

Rescue workers search for survivors in the rubble of a collapsed building after an earthquake hit Elazig, eastern Turkey, on January 25, 2020.  Ilyas AKENGIN / AFP

 

Rescue workers raced against time Saturday to find survivors under the rubble after a powerful earthquake claimed 22 lives and left more than 1,000 injured in eastern Turkey.

The magnitude 6.8 quake struck on Friday evening, with its epicentre in the small lakeside town of Sivrice in Elazig province, and was felt in neighbouring countries.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said 39 people have been rescued alive from collapsed buildings in Elazig province, with a further 22 people estimated to be trapped under the rubble. He said the death toll had risen to 22.

Among those found alive was a pregnant woman who was rescued 12 hours after the quake hit, state news agency Anadolu said, while an AFP correspondent saw an individual saved 17 hours later.

Nearly 2,000 search and rescue personnel were sent to the region while thousands of beds, blankets and tents have been provided, the Turkish presidency said.

The rescue efforts have been taking place in freezing temperatures as wood and plastic were burned to keep crowds warm.

Hundreds of people were anxiously waiting on the other side of police barriers including a man who gave his name as Mustafa.

“I have three relatives in that building: one man, his wife and her mother. They are still under the rubble,” the 40-year-old told AFP.

“May God help us, we can do nothing but pray.

“I was home during the earthquake. It lasted for so long, it was like a nightmare. I froze in the living room when it happened, my wife and our two children were screaming and running around,” he said.

He added that some neighbours jumped out of the windows because they panicked as families including his were forced to spend Friday night on the streets.

Some 20 rescuers were on top of the remains of one collapsed building, slowly clearing the rubble one bucket at a time surrounded by broken wooden beams and concrete.

Nearby Ayse Sonmez, 48, wept in silence at the barrier. She was only able to point to one of the heavily damaged buildings and say, “My older sister.”

 ‘Screaming in terror’ 

Sivrice — a town with a population of about 4,000 — is situated south of Elazig city on the shores of Hazar lake — one of the most popular tourist spots in the region and the source of the Tigris river.

The lake is home to a “Sunken City”, with archaeological traces dating back 4,000 years in its waters.

The interior minister said 18 people were killed in Elazig while four died in Malatya.

Among the 1,031 people injured were residents in other provinces in the southeast including Diyarbakir, Batman, Sanliurfa, Adiyaman and Kahramanmaras, the Turkish government’s disaster and emergency management agency (AFAD) said.

Health minister Fahrettin Koca said 128 people were still receiving treatment including 34 in intensive care but added that no one was in a critical condition.

Tensions were high as one resident accused the government of lying.

“They (the government) claim that only four people are trapped under the rubble. It is not true. I have five relatives in that building,” Suat, a 45-year-old butcher, said.

“There are four floors and three flats per floor. If there were five people per flat, do the math. Why are they lying?”

Suat described the moment when the quake struck as he was at home in another Elazig neighbourhood and his children “were screaming in terror.”

The Ankara public prosecutor’s office later on Saturday said it had begun an investigation into “provocative” social media posts but did not give further details.

 Tremors felt elsewhere 

The tremor was felt in several parts of eastern Turkey near the Iraqi and Syrian borders as well as in Iran, Lebanon and Syria, local media reported.

Environment and Urbanisation Minister Murat Kurum told reporters in Elazig that five buildings collapsed following the quake while others were badly or lightly damaged.

The US Geological Survey assessed the magnitude as 6.7, slightly lower than AFAD, adding that it struck near the East Anatolian Fault in an area that has suffered no documented large ruptures since an earthquake in 1875.

According to AFAD, there have been nearly 400 aftershocks following Friday’s quake including 12 that were above four in magnitude.

In 1999, a devastating 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit Izmit in western Turkey, leaving more than 17,000 people dead including about 1,000 in Istanbul.

Experts have long warned a large quake could devastate the city of 15 million people, which has allowed widespread building without safety precautions.

Such fears were acutely awakened in September last year when a 5.7-magnitude earthquake shook Istanbul, causing residents to flee buildings in the economic capital.

AFP

 

6.0-Magnitude Earthquake Hits Chinese Region

 

A 6.0 magnitude earthquake hit a remote area of northwest China’s Xinjiang region late Sunday, the US Geological Survey said.

The shallow quake struck at 9:27 pm (1327 GMT) around 100 kilometers (60 miles) east-northeast of the ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar.

In its initial assessment, the USGS said there was a low likelihood of casualties.

It said however that significant damage was likely, with many buildings in the region built from mud bricks or cinder block masonry.

The area near the quake’s epicenter is sparsely populated mountain and desert terrain.

China is regularly hit by earthquakes, especially in its mountainous western and southwestern regions.

In February 2003 a powerful 6.8-magnitude quake killed 268 people in Xinjiang and caused significant damage.

AFP

NGSA Dismisses Report Of Earthquake In Abuja

 

The Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA) has denied the claim that an earthquake hit a part of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The Deputy Director of NGSA, Abba Usman, told reporters during an interview at the agency’s office over the weekend that the report of a quake happening in Abuja was false.

A lecturer from the Department of Geology at the Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile Ife, Osun State had said a 3.8-magnitude earthquake rocked the nation’s capital on Friday last week.

But Usman insisted that none of the agency’s equipment picked up any seismic activity in Abaji, about 176 kilometres away from the Abuja city centre.

He faulted the research method used by the lecturer to make his claims, stressing that it was not the first time he has made similar claims which after scrutiny turned out to be false.

 

During a visit to the scene where the earthquake was alleged to have happened (Abaji), Channels TV crew could not find any visible sign of an earth tremor.

Also, none of the eyewitnesses interviewed could corroborate the lecturer’s claims while a further visit was made to Takwura village, the actual location given by the lecturer.

The buildings there were found to be intact with the villagers saying they felt nothing.

6.2-Magnitude Earthquake Hits Indonesia’s Northwest

 

A strong earthquake jolted Indonesia’s northwest on Tuesday, but no tsunami warning was issued and there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The 6.2 magnitude quake struck at a depth of 20 kilometres (12.5 miles) just off the coast of Simeulue island, west of Sumatra, according to the US Geological Survey.

Indonesia’s weather and geophysics bureau said there was no tsunami threat.

People panicked and ran outside their homes when the quake hit.

“We are now watching at the beach to monitor the movement of seawater,” Simeulue resident Ahmadi told AFP.

No casualties or infrastructure damage have been reported so far.

Indonesia suffers frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where tectonic plates collide.

More than 2,200 people died and another 1,000 were declared missing in 2018 after a 7.5 magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami on Sulawesi island.

A 9.1 magnitude earthquake on Boxing Day in 2004 struck Aceh province, causing a tsunami that claimed the lives of more than 170,000 people in Indonesia alone.

AFP

Rescuers Search For Survivors Of Deadly Philippine Quake

Police forensic investigators work over bodies retrieved from a collapsed building (background) in Padada town, Davao del Sur province on the southern island of Mindanao on December 16, 2019, following a 6.8-magnitude earthquake on December 15.  Manman Dejeto / AFP

 

Rescuers in the southern Philippines used heavy equipment and their bare hands on Monday in hopes of finding several people feared trapped beneath a building toppled by a powerful earthquake that claimed at least three lives.

Sunday’s tremor cracked schools, toppled homes and injured dozens but largely spared big cities on the island of Mindanao, which is still recovering from a string of deadly quakes in October.

Searchers have pulled survivors from the collapsed market building in the town of Padada, but were still looking for a person who had texted authorities saying six people were trapped under the rubble.

“The person can no longer be reached,” fire official Fred Trajeras told reporters, adding that rescuers’ held out hope survivors could be found.

A young child was killed when a family home collapsed near the epicentre, and searchers pulled the bodies of two victims from the collapsed market building.

However applause erupted after Lesley Jane Gatos, 31, was pulled from the rubble on Sunday, shortly after the tremor.

Gatos used her phone to call for help and then began making noise to attract the attention of rescuers, who reached her after clearing a path in the debris.

“Finally I was able to get out. I saw people. They clapped because I was the first one rescued,” she told AFP.

The collapsed building was near the epicentre of the 6.8 magnitude quake and is in the same region that was hit by three tremors above 6.0 in a matter of weeks in October.

Those quakes killed some two dozen people and forced tens of thousands into shelters as well as heavily damaging homes and offices.

The Philippines is situated on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, an arc of intense seismic activity that stretches from Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.

Searchers were fanning out across the quake-hit areas of Mindanao on to fully assess the damage, but have already reported several schools and hospitals were cracked.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who is from Davao and was there during the quake, was not hurt.

“The first lady… said the car she was riding (in) was swaying,” spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

AFP

4.5-Magnitude Earthquake Hits Italy

 

A 4.5 magnitude earthquake hit the central Italian region of Mugello on Monday, sending panicked residents into the streets but causing minimal damage to buildings.

The quake, centred some 31 km (19 miles) northeast of Florence in Tuscany, hit at 4:37 am (0330 GMT), after a series of smaller quakes, according to the national institute for geophysics and vulcanology (INGV).

Residents fled their buildings in the rain,  congregating outside or in their cars to await authorities.

“The quake went on for awhile, especially the first one, things fell down at a supermarket but for the moment we haven’t seen any damage to people or things,” said Filippo Carla’ Campa, mayor of the town of Vicchio.

A resident of Barberino del Mugello said his neighbours were panicking getting out of the building.

“Paintings fell off the walls, bookcases fell over,” he told Rai 24.

In Barberino del Mugello, the 17th century church suffered a crack in one side, television images showed.

Schools were closed in the region and some trains through Florence were cancelled or delayed.

Italy is frequently struck by seismic activity, often devastating. Most recently, a series of strong quakes hit central Italy in late 2016 and early 2017, killing 300 people.

In 1919, the area was hit by an earthquake that killed 100 people.

AFP

Death Toll Hits 40 In Albania Earthquake

A picture taken on November 26, 2019 shows a collapsed building in Thumane, northwest of capital Tirana, after an earthquake hit Albania. Armend NIMANI / AFP

 

 

The death toll from the most powerful earthquake to strike Albania in decades rose to 40 on Thursday, after 10 more bodies were pulled from the rubble overnight, the defence ministry said.

The 6.4 magnitude earthquake rattled the Balkan state before dawn on Tuesday, levelling buildings and trapping bodies underneath the wreckage in towns near the Adriatic coast.

“Ten more victims were found during the night, bringing the number of dead to 40,” the ministry said in a statement.

With the help of experts flown in from across Europe, rescuers have been working tirelessly to clear away the debris of collapsed apartments and hotels in the coastal city of Durres and the town of Thumane, the two areas hardest hit by the quake.

Forty-six people have been pulled out alive so far and have been hospitalised, the defence ministry spokeswoman told AFP.

The number of people who may still be buried in the rubble is unknown.

Hundreds of aftershocks have continued to rattle the country, sparking panic and temporarily halting search efforts.

Among some 650 who were injured, at least 10 are seriously wounded, the health ministry said.

Thousands have been displaced, either because their homes were severely damaged or because it is still unsafe to return home because of the aftershocks.

AFP