Tanzanian PM visits earthquake-hit region as death toll rises to 16

Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa on Sunday visited Kagera region to console people and inspect damage caused by an earthquake on Saturday as the number of dead rose from 11 to 16.

Salum Kijuu, the Kagera regional commissioner, said the number of people killed by the earthquake measured at a magnitude of 5.7 on the Richter scale rose from 11 on Saturday to 16 on Sunday, adding that over 100 injured people were being treated in hospitals.

Kijuu said 840 houses were flattened to ground and 1,264 other houses developed huge cracks following the earthquake that hit the region bordering Uganda and Rwanda.

“Over 40 buildings belonging to the government, including schools, were also damaged,” said Kijuu.

“Bodies of the deceased were brought to a national stadium in Bukoba town for final prayers before they were ferried to their native places for burial,” said Kijuu, adding that the prayers were also attended by the Prime Minister after he had inspected some of the areas most affected by the quake.

Kijuu said no foreigners were killed or injured by the earthquake. “All the victims are locals,” he told Xinhua by telephone.

Speaking at the Kaitaba National Stadium, Premier Majaliwa said a team of experts from the government will assess the damage caused by the earthquake.

“The assessment will enable the government the degree of assistance that it could render,” said Majaliwa.

“The government will also cover expenses for burial of the victims and will provide medical expenses for the injured persons,” said the Prime Minister.

He said the government will also seek technical intelligence from international meteorological organizations to establish whether such an earthquake will again hit the areas in future.

Wilfred Lwakatare, a Member of Parliament for Bukoba Urban constituency, appealed to people who were not affected by the earthquake to shelter their fellow citizens.

On Saturday, President John Magufuli sent condolences to the bereaved families and prayed for those who were injured to regain their health through speedy recovery.

“I am joining the families of the deceased, friends and relatives and pray for those who died to rest in peace,” said President Magufuli in a statement issued by the Presidential Directorate of Communication.

Gabriel Mbogoni, an expert from the Geological Survey of Tanzania, said the earthquake was one of the most intensive ever experienced in the east African country.

The earthquake jolted Tanzania’s northwest regions of Kagera and Mwanza on the shores of Lake Victoria.

 

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