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Some places in Ethiopia said to be at highest risk of earthquake

Earthquake _ Ethiopia
Image source : Pixabay

By Staff Reporter

ADDIS ABABA – (BORKENA) – Geophysics and Space Science Researcher, Atalai Ayele (Professor) told the Weekly Amharic Reporter that there are areas with the highest risk of earthquakes in Ethiopia where the East African Rift Valley passes. These earthquake prone areas include Afar, Tigray, Mount Entoto (a hill in Northern Addis Ababa), including Adama, Bishoftu, Arba-Minch, Hawassa and Dire-Dawa Towns, according to the researcher.

Professor Atalai said that “the origin of the East African Rift Valley is the Red Sea.” This hazard (earthquake) has occurred repeatedly in various parts of Ethiopia. The good case in point is the incident happened on 01 August 2023 at 8:30 p.m., in the evening, in Eritrea’s Dahlak or Matsawa area with the tremors felt as far as Tigray Region.

“We are trying to prevent this disaster in different ways,” professor Atalai said, adding that information has been collected based on the studies conducted on earthquakes, which have occurred in various parts of the country. When studies are conducted and revised at different times, research inputs will be dispatched to the Ministry of Construction and Urban Development. This is done so that precautionary measures are taken when buildings and infrastructure constructions are carried out in earthquake-prone areas, according to Atalai.

The professor further said that in time of the occurrence of such an accident, information will be provided to the Disaster Risk Management Commission, to the National Defense Force and all other institutions involved in life-saving operations.

“However, there is little understanding of earthquakes at the quarter of government offices,” the professor said, adding that it is difficult for them to say that they have that much understanding, including officials of Addis Ababa city Administration. As Addis Ababa with about over six million inhabitants, is part of the East African Rift Valley, authorities should give due attention to the issue and work on precautions.

There is a risk of earthquakes in the Afar region of Ethiopia where the Red Sea Rift Valley and the Gulf of Aden Rift Valley meet, Professor Atalai said. He further said that the concerned government bodies should pay attention to the issue, and the media should discuss with concerned experts and convey relevant information to the citizens including raising awareness before the occurrence of earthquakes. 


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  1. I agree with the professor. That country is sitting at a stone throw away from a major tectonic plate, the Arabian Plate. The sudden movement of this plate is the cause of the recent devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria that killed close to 50,000 people. It seems to be more active lately. All it takes is one strong and shallow earthquake to wipe out an entire city. The Rift Valley should be taken as a constant reminder for mayors and builders during constructions of residential and business buildings particularly multi stairs high rises. I remember discussing this issue with a friend trained in architecture and asking him if there ever was any building codes in the cities and towns in that country. He told me there were building ordinances like Addis/Finfine during the reign of the late emperor and the new high rises built in the 1950’s and 60’s were made to withstand major earthquakes. But since the 1970’s those ordinances were relaxed to accommodate well connected owners and builders. So many of the newer building are there at the mercy of Mother Nature. Let’s hope and pray that shallow and strong earthquake will not hit major cities and towns of that country.


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