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Earth tremor rocks Eldoret and environs

By | December 31st 2009

By Dedan Okanga

Panic gripped Eldoret town, villages in Keiyo and parts of Kitale when a tremor rocked the region yesterday.

In Eldoret, workers at the Central Business District ran from buildings to safer ground with fears that a second wave could wreak havoc.

The midday incident shook high-rise buildings in the town and residential houses where some reported fallen chairs and other light movable objects.

The most affected was the busy Kerio Valley Development Authority Plaza (KVDA) where a stampede ensued moments after the incident, as crowds rushed down the stairs screaming while security personnel raised the alarm.

"I was going about my business on the sixth flour when I saw chairs, cell phones and everything tumbling, then I heard screams and ran out," said Mr Joel Kimani, a businessman.

Safe distance

No injuries were reported, but the fleeing crowds kept a safe distance from affected buildings awaiting expert counsel on their safety.

They re-entered the buildings after hours of waiting as Government geologists or police failed to turn up.

The tremor, described by experts as severe, came at a time when the region is experiencing a spell of long rains.

Dr Beneah Odhiambo, a Moi University geologist suspected the epicentre of the tremor was around Eldoret, but said the Nairobi or Kajiado seismic stations would ascertain the exact location.

"I estimate that the magnitude of the quake would be between 5 or 6 on the Richter scale," he said.

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