Tremor shakes Kenya's North Rift

Wednesday December 30 2009

International athlete Asbel Kiprop (centre), among members of the public and people who work on KVDA Plaza in Eldoret town gathered outside the building following a tremor that hit the town at around 12:05 pm, December 30, 2009. Most people scampered out of tall buildings in the town.  Photo/JARED NYATAYA

International athlete Asbel Kiprop (centre), among members of the public and people who work on KVDA Plaza in Eldoret town gathered outside the building following a tremor that hit the town at around 12:05 pm, December 30, 2009. Most people scampered out of tall buildings in the town. Photo/JARED NYATAYA  

By BARNABAS BII

An earth tremor on Wednesday shook Kenya's North Rift region sending thousands of residents scampering for safety.

Business activities in Eldoret, Kitale and Iten towns were temporary brought to a halt as workers rushed out of tall buildings to safety. The tremor lasted about five seconds.

Some of the buildings hit by the tremor were shaken resulting in the falling off of billboards and wall charts.

“It is the worst tremor I have felt in many years. Several buildings were terribly shaken,” said Samuel Rotich, a resident in Eldoret.

Several workers at the Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) Plaza, the tallest building in the Rift Valley, were evacuated when the building shook.

“It was really terrifying as we least expected it considering that the region is not prone to tremors,” said Jane Chebet, an office worker at the KVDA Plaza.

The tremble was also felt at the National Bank, Kiptagich and Hill View buildings among other tall structures in Eldoret town.

A billboard on a building along Kenyatta Street was destroyed due to the impact of the tremor.

Some residents demanded for the provision of emergency exits in all buildings to avert catastrophe in the event of natural calamities.

“It is unfortunate that several buildings in the town do not have emergency exits for access to safety in case of calamity,” said Kohn Korir.

The tremor was also felt by residents of Chepkanga, Mosoriot, Matunda, Kitale and Iten who termed it as shocking.

The scale of the tremor would not easily be determined as there was no immediate comment from experts from geological department.