Earthquakes hit Great Lakes region of Africa

By staff writers
February 4, 2008

Regional and international staff working for major church agencies involved in the region are consulting about relief interventions in the immediate aftermath of a series of quakes in Africa's Great Lakes area.

Initial reports from news and development agencies suggest that least 40 people have been killed and hundreds injured. The wider damage assessment is not yet clear, but the region's infrastructure has been described as "vulnerable" by experts.

The two most powerful quakes occurred hours apart in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in neighbouring Rwanda, with magnitudes of 6.0 and 5.0 respectively, reports the BBC.

At least 10 people died as a church collapsed in western Rwanda, while the eastern DR Congo city of Bukavu suffered widespread damage. Police are saying the death toll could rise, as there are many people trapped in buildings.

A powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake rocked the region in December 2005. While it is prone to seismic activity it has mostly escaped major quakes in recent years.

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