Deadly earthquake in Tanzania (also felt in Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya) - 11+ deaths, 200+ injured.

Last update: September 11, 2016 at 1:45 pm by By

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Update 12:15 UTC Sunday:

Many houses have been damaged in Bukoba municipality, and likely also in rural settings. A school (or school residence) was damaged with 15 boys injured. The death toll remains 12 as far as we can work out, with over 200 injuries.

The vulnerable nature of the building typologies are one cause of the high number of fatalities through this event, but of course a magnitude 5.9 earthquake would cause major damage even in developing countries like Germany or Australia.

At the last census in 2012, Kagera district is mostly rural with around 9% being urban. Over half of buildings are built of Pole and Mud (often basic columns with rammed earth in between in Adobe style). 41.4% of buildings are built with bricks of mostly baked or sun-dried form.  Only 7% of people own a television and this is one of the poorer regions of Tanzania.

Adobe buildings are often very vulnerable to earthquakes, but more information is required as to the pole and mud typologies as often local building styles have been adapted over time to resist earthquakes (however likely given the lack of earthquakes in the district historically this is probably not the case.)

IMPORTANT Update 11:00 UTC Sunday:

The Bukoba earthquake has 11 deaths and 196 injuries in the Bukoba Municipality.

In Karagwe district, the earthquake has caused the death of one person and wounding three others and pulling down ten houses. Mkoani Mwanza, also was greatly affected by the earthquake.

Historical earthquakes have been recorded in the region within 150km of the epicenter, however only a few damaging events have occurred in the last 117 years according to CATDAT. In March 1945, 5 people were killed in the Masabe earthquake, just north of where this one occurred. Similarly in 1947 and 4 May 1960 shocks have caused damage in the area. June 30 1952 (M6) and 1994 (M4.5) had shocks closer to Bukoba. However, the catalogues show that there has been very few earthquakes in this region in general (within 100km), with other parts of Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi usually affected by earthquakes.

Update 08:00 UTC Sunday:

Unfortunately the death toll has risen to at least 11 (with 13 also mentioned) with over 200 injured. It is likely this will rise in the coming hours as more information is collected. The epicenter was likely closer to Bukoba.

Due to the lack of local seismometers, earthquakes are often misplaced in the part of the world therefore it should be said that the usgs shakemap and other solutions differ a lot and although of course very useful, should always be used with their uncertainties.

We got this report from Philipp from Bukoba : gosh my friend just came back back and told me there are casualties in another part of Bukoba town in Kashai children buried under collapsed houses... oh my God, i never expected any casualties to come from earthquakes here in Bukoba... my house was shaking vigorously but apart from one small crack in the wall and plaster falling down i didn't see any damage

IMPORTANT Update 16:02 UTC : We are sad to report that at least 10 people have been killed and 100 injured due to this earthquake

Schermafbeelding 2016-09-10 om 18.03.43

Schermafbeelding 2016-09-10 om 18.03.59

IMPORTANT Update 14:30 UTC : Based on the following Swahili text, we fear that this will be a deadly earthquake. We expect this to be confirmed within a couple of hours. Upodate : 1 fatality has been confirmed officially.
Swahili : Mchana wa  leo Septemba 10,2016, Mkoani Kagera umekumbwa na tetemeko la ardhi ambapo nyumba kadhaa zimebomoka na inadaiwa kuna vifo kadhaa.
Taarifa zaidi tutawaletea hapa.
Google English : Kagera region has been hit by an earthquake where several houses allegedly broken down and there are several deaths.

Image of a hospital where many people are waiting for news of their loved ones.

Schermafbeelding 2016-09-10 om 16.35.05

Schermafbeelding 2016-09-10 om 16.04.50

Update 13:55 UTC : Another video (more a standstill picture below the comment of a local reporter).

Update 13:41 UTC : This was a supermarket before the earthquake

Schermafbeelding 2016-09-10 om 15.40.52

Update 13:38 UTC : Map which gives a better view of the epicenter of this earthquake with the shaking values projected on it

Schermafbeelding 2016-09-10 om 15.37.46

Update 13:18 UTC : The main reason for the damage is the poor housing building in the area. Abobe or brick houses without special earthquake resistance are very vulnerable for damage. We also fear that some people will have been injured.

Update 13:17 UTC : More pictures from the Bukoba damage. Bukoba was located at 35 km from the epicenter and had a light shaking. Other locations have a strong and even very strong shaking. No pictures so far from there.

Update 13:15 UTC :

Schermafbeelding 2016-09-10 om 15.15.06

Update 13:14 UTC : More pictures from the damage

Update 13:12 UTC : As there is already damage in Bukoba, the cities Nsunga and Kyaka will be even hit more severely.

Schermafbeelding 2016-09-10 om 15.11.53

Update 13:05 UTC : Below the first video from the earthquake from Bukoba (sorry for the image direction and for the surprising language the guy uses :) ). Look at the dust of the shaking on. The rocks on the video are part of the landscape and have nothing to do with the earthquake.

Update 12:54 UTC : USGS predicts a MMI VII shaking near the epicenter which will be VERY DAMAGING as MMI VII correspondts to

Update 12:53 UTC : Local reports are mentioning that houses and a church have collapsed in Bukoba, Tanzania

First instagram picture of damage in the Bakobu area https://www.instagram.com/p/BKLRaQmhVxb/

First instagram picture of damage in the Bukoba area https://www.instagram.com/p/BKLRaQmhVxb/

Update 12:50 UTC : Based on our findings today's earthquake might be one of the strongest of the last decades in the Lake Victoria region

A very dangerous and probably also damaging shallow earthquake struck the Nsunga area in Tanzania. We received alerts from scraed people from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania.

Schermafbeelding 2016-09-10 om 14.40.59

190 km NE of Kigali, Rwanda / pop: 746,000 / local time: 14:27:28.6 2016-09-10
35 km NW of Bukoba, Tanzania, United Republic of / pop: 70,700 / local time: 15:27:28.6 2016-09-10
18 km E of Nsunga, Tanzania, United Republic of / pop: 20,100 / local time: 15:27:28.6 2016-09-1

Most important Earthquake Data:

Magnitude : 5.8

Local Time (conversion only below land) : 2016-09-10 15:27:28

GMT/UTC Time : 2016-09-10 12:27:28

Depth (Hypocenter) : 37 km

Depth and Magnitude updates in the list below.

Share your earthquake experience (I Have Felt It) with our readers.
Click on the "I Felt It" button behind the corresponding earthquake. Your earthquake experience is not only important for science, but also for people in the area as well as our global readership.

SRC Location UTC Date/time M D INFO
USGS Nsunga, Tanzania Sep 10 12:27 5.9 40 MAP I Felt It INFO
  • entebbe - Ik was op mijn hotelkamer en hoorde eert een soort gerommel dat dichterbij kwam. het gebouw begon te schudden. gasten liepen naar buiten. de beving hield ongeveer 30 seconden aan
  • Kigali - Building shook for 30 secs to a minute. Felt longer
  • Kigali - Minor shaking. No prop damage.
  • kampala - It was quite strong with a loud rumbling sound. Buildings shook for approx 20 seconds
  • Mbarara - Almost 1 minute strong shaking but no damage.
  • Bbunga near Lake Victoria, Kampala - Almost a minute of low rumbling like a train coming in to a station. Whole house shook. Scary experience. Worst yet in Kampala.
  • Entebbe - I'm at 4th floor and we felt it
  • Bujumbura - I felt the house and the dining table moving, it my mind playing with me as my mom keeps taljing and acting like she didn't notice a thing
  • entebbe - .
  • Kampala. - Strong shaking with "passing" rumbling sound.between 20 and 30 seconds.
  • Kampala - Was awakened from a jet-lag nap to find the bed shaking, along with a rumbling sound. Ceiling fan swayed significantly. The biggest shaking lasted for about 30 seconds, then became slight for another 30 seconds or so (like residual vibrations). We watched the ceiling fan keep swaying/vibrating for the full minute.
  • Busia - I felt the earthquake at approximately 4:05 to 4:06 local time and it was quite violent that we had to step out of the house for a whole two minutes and wait for it to abate.
  • Kigali - no damage, windows rattled, it lasted for close to a minute
  • Bungoma - Was in the laundry room by the washing machine and would have been sure the machine was on because of the vibrations until my gal yelled out that the house was shaking
  • Busia - It was very noisy and everything was shaking inside the house and outside
  • Webuye - Firm tremors that lasted about 30 secs. Second wave found me outside and the door was rattling and lines shaking violently.
  • Fort Portal - Becuase of the mountains we experience small quakes all the time. This one was different. It was very long... Felt like at least 15 seconds.
  • Kigali - Was on 6th floor (highest level in this building) of Telecom House and felt shaking for more than 1 minute. People on lower floors exited the building quickly but we stayed on 6th floor.
  • mbarara - felt shaking
  • Ngra - Was inside and felt and heard it. At first thought it was a truck passing on the road until it lasted too long. Lasted a total of maybe a minute.
  • Kihihi - Lasted for nearly a minute long! Water was moving in glass.
  • Entebbe - I was inside the house and felt the earth shaking. Also doors and windows were rattling for about 1 minute. Nothing got broken.
  • Kitshanga - Se sintió un leve movimiento de aproximadamente 5 segundos.La cama en la que dormía se movió.
  • Bukoba - I heard it from relatives that some bungalows collapsed. Property damage realized
  • Bujumbura - Furniture shaking for 15 seconds.
  • webuye - I was in bedroom watching a movie wen I realized my bed is shaking the laptop and the table the ceiling too was shaking vigorously on moving out of the house the Windows n doors in the other houses were shaking it was so terrifying I thought the houses gonna come down!
  • Kipture village - There was an earthquake here in kipture area buh there was no damge or any injured buh the earthquake was very strong cause i could here the whole house shaking strongly
  • Gulu - House was shaking l was in bed reading a novel en l saw the water in a bottle shaking. I came out en found mi big sis carring my young sis.
  • Siaya - I saw walls of buildings shaking strongly, didn't witness any damages though
  • Mfangano Island - Felt the tremor as I was lying in bed & figured it could be an earthquake so I got out of the house & kept hearing my windows as well as the neighbours' shaking. No damages reported though.
  • Kitale - Round about 40 seconds. No damage
  • Nandi Hills - Windows and doors flexed but no damage. Strong enough shaking to make us go outside
  • Nandi Hills - Strong enough shaking to make us leave the house.
  • Entebbe - The whole house shook,windows rustled there also was a rummbling noise during the quake like the kind a grade makes but louder.I felt the shake in 3waves of about 20seconds each.the first two were the strongest
  • Bukavu - While I Was sitting in the office I Felt office door moving and the table and chair shaking
  • Mugondoi - Windows flexed violently but didn't break.
  • Nansana, Wakiso District - Strong shaking for a minute with rumbling sound. Cracks on some tall buildings in Kampala. A road in Entebbe also reported to have developed a crack.
  • Bushenyi - My bed and the floor shook vigorously no damage
  • Kampala - Pendant la sieste du samedi vers 14h30, réveillé par le bruit du vibrement des vitres et vibration du lit. le temps de comprendre que c'était un tremblement. Pas de dégâts mais surprenant pendant env 20-25 secondes
  • Kitale - there was no damages apart from little shaking
  • Serengeti - Small shaking
  • kampala - was honking it was strong I cummed so fast.
  • EMSC Lake Victoria Region, Tanzania Sep 10 12:27 5.7 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
  • Kigali - A bit of surprised that in Kigali it was felt
  • Kigali - No damage. One big shake.
  • entebbe - No damage that I'm aware of. The house rumbled and rattled. I'm directly on the soreline of Lake Victoria, there was no noticeable water surge.
  • Kampala - Felt in Kampala, no damage.
  • Mbale - Gentle tremor for a minute or two.
  • mwanza - Seal fan was shacking. And loud sound from everywhere. All large building were shacking
  • Rabuor, Kisumu - No damage. Other reports of the same event from Nyanza, Rift Valley and Western regions of Kenya
  • BUKAVU - léger pendant 30 à 45 secondes
  • Kitale - Felt it strongly in house. Items vibrated, rattled, including windows, furniture. Lasted about 3 minutes, getting more intense by the minute.
  • Kampala - Moderate to strong shaking slightly over a 30 seconds accompanied with a "passing" low tone rumbling sound
  • Bujumbura - Il n y a pas eu de degats juste quelquzs secousses une dizaine de secondes
  • Bujumbura - Quelques secousses pas de degats
  • nakulybye kampala - i got so scared
  • Bondo - 10th September 2016, 1525 hours East African Time. Strong earth tremor approx 5.4 Richter scale hits bondo town. Weak hanging things fall from the wall and slight plaster drops. Local news channels report trans nzoia as the epicenter since most of the damage reports are noted there. Best guess it was almost 6.3 in that place. Same time and day another earthquake reported in Uganda.
  • Kigali - It is too taff and dangerous
  • Mwanza - I flew to Mwanza in the morning from Bukoba enroute to Dar es Salaam in the evening. The TV was shaking then stopped for a while and started again. I went out on realising it was tremor. Later heard about the disaster in my home town. And it had collapsed houses, hitting people in my own Village, Mulaya katerero ward.
  • GEOFON Lake Victoria Region Sep 10 12:27 5.8 37 MAP I Felt It INFO
  • Kampala - Secousse de quelques secondes précédé d'un bruit assez assourdissant
  • Bomet - Light tremor lasted about 3-5 seconds
  • Kigali - Cabinets opened, glass warped but didn't break, lasted about 6-7 seconds
  • Kampala - No damage. It shook for a long time.
  • Kampala - Low rumbling tone for about 30-60secs. Everyone went outside.
  • Kampala - strange and frightening sensation. Third time in less than two years.
  • Najjeera-Kampala - Shaking for a good 20 seconds but no damage.
  • Kitale - Felt household items rattling, glass, roof vibrating. Lasted about 3 minutes, getting more intense by the minute.
  • Kaniga-Gicumbi-Province Nord - Aucun dommage
  • Hima - Kasese - Property not damaged but the ground shaking lasted almost a minute,
  • Central - BUGEMA IN LUWERO DISTRICT I was seated in my room then i experienced that. my laptop fell down including my food on a chacaol stove yet am a student.
  • Musoma - No damage
  • Webuye - I was just having my lunch on 10 September 2016 at my hotel stay, Felt light Shaking. Lasted for few secs. Restaurant refrigerator starts shaking making little noise of bottles which kept in the refrigerator.

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    SHARE YOUR EARTHQUAKE EXPERIENCE WITH US

    Enter Email (not compulsory)
    Country where you felt the earthquake
    City/Village where you felt the earthquake
    Street or suburb (area) where you felt the earthquake
    Latitude (area) where you felt the earthquake
    Longitude (area) where you felt the earthquake
    MMI II (Very weak shaking) ?
    People :
    Felt by persons at rest, on upper floors or favorably placed.
    MMI III (Weak shaking) ?
    People :
    Felt indoors; hanging objects may swing, vibration similar to passing of light trucks, duration may be estimated, may not be recognized as an earthquake.
    MMI IV (Light shaking) ?
    People :
    Generally noticed indoors but not outside. Light sleepers may be awakened. Vibration may be likened to the passing of heavy traffic, or to the jolt of a heavy object falling or striking the building.
    Fittings :
    Doors and windows rattle. Glassware and crockery rattle. Liquids in open vessels may be slightly disturbed. Standing motorcars may rock.
    Structures :
    Walls and frames of buildings, and partitions and suspended ceilings in commercial buildings, may be heard to creak.
    MMI V (Moderate shaking) ?
    People :
    Generally felt outside, and by almost everyone indoors. Most sleepers awakened. A few people alarmed.
    Fittings :
    Small unstable objects are displaced or upset. Some glassware and crockery may be broken. Hanging pictures knock against the wall. Open doors may swing. Cupboard doors secured by magnetic catches may open. Pendulum clocks stop, start, or change rate.
    Structures :
    Some large display windows cracked. A few earthenware toilet fixtures cracked.
    MMI VI (Strong shaking) ?
    People Felt by all. People and animals alarmed. Many run outside. Difficulty experienced in walking steadily.
    Fittings :
    Objects fall from shelves. Pictures fall from walls. Some furniture moved on smooth floors, some unsecured free-standing fireplaces moved. Glassware and crockery broken. Very unstable furniture overturned. Small church and school bells ring. Appliances move on bench or table tops. Filing cabinets or "easy glide" drawers may open (or shut).
    Structures :
    Slight damage to buildings with low standard. Some stucco or cement plaster falls. Large display windows broken. Damage to a few weak domestic chimneys, some may fall.
    Environment :
    Trees and bushes shake, or are heard to rustle. Loose material may be dislodged from sloping ground, e.g. existing slides, talus slopes, shingle slides.
    MMI VII (Very strong shaking) ?
    People
    General alarm. Difficulty experienced in standing. Noticed by motorcar drivers who may stop.
    Fittings :
    Large bells ring. Furniture moves on smooth floors, may move on carpeted floors. Substantial damage to fragile contents of buildings.
    Structures :
    Unreinforced stone and brick walls cracked. Low standard buildings cracked with some minor masonry falls. A few instances of damage to buildings of ordinary workmanship. Unbraced parapets, unbraced brick gables, and architectural ornaments fall. Roofing tiles, especially ridge tiles may be dislodged. Many unreinforced domestic chimneys damaged, often falling from roof-line. Water tanks Type I burst. A few instances of damage to brick veneers and plaster or cement-based linings. Unrestrained water cylinders (hot-water cylinders) may move and leak. Some common windows cracked. Suspended ceilings damaged.
    Environment :
    Water made turbid by stirred up mud. Small slides such as falls of sand and gravel banks, and small rock-falls from steep slopes and cuttings. Instances of settlement of unconsolidated or wet, or weak soils. Some fine cracks appear in sloping ground. A few instances of liquefaction (i.e. small water and sand ejections).
    MMI VIII (Severe shaking) ?
    People Alarm may approach panic. Steering of motorcars greatly affected. Structures : Low standard buildings heavily damaged, some collapse. ordinary workmanship buildings damaged, some with partial collapse. Reinforced masonry or concrete buildings damaged in some cases. A few instances of damage to buildings and bridges designed and built to resist earthquakes. Monuments and pre-1976 elevated tanks and factory stacks twisted or brought down. Some pre-1965 infill masonry panels damaged. A few post-1980 brick veneers damaged. Decayed timber piles of houses damaged. Houses not secured to foundations may move. Most unreinforced domestic chimneys damaged, some below roof-line, many brought down. Environment : Cracks appear on steep slopes and in wet ground. Small to moderate slides in roadside cuttings and unsupported excavations. Small water and sand ejections and localized lateral spreading adjacent to streams, canals, lakes, etc.
    MMI IX (Violent shaking) ?
    Structures Many low standard buildings destroyed. Ordinary workmanship buildings heavily damaged, some collapse. Reinforced masonry or concrete buildings damaged, some with partial collapse. Buildings and bridges designed and built to resist earthquakes damaged in some cases, some with flexible frames seriously damaged. Damage or permanent distortion to some buildings and bridges, designed and built to normal use standards. Houses not secured to foundations shifted off. Brick veneers fall and expose frames. Environment : Cracking of ground conspicuous. Landsliding general on steep slopes. Liquefaction effects intensified and more widespread, with large lateral spreading and flow sliding adjacent to streams, canals, lakes, etc.
    Tell us your experience and how many seconds the shaking lasted + let us know if your property has been damaged (even slight damage). (max. 500 characters)