Botswana quake: At least 36 students 'affected', structural 'defects' reported

Gaborone - The Botswana Geosciences Institute is set to dispatch a team of Geoscientists and Geophysicists to the epicentre of last night’s earthquake to make visual assessments of the place.

Botswana was hit by a 6.5 magnitude earthquake on Monday night, the second biggest in the history of the country. The last time the country experienced any such quake was in 1952 when a 6.7 magnitude earthquake hit Maun in the northern part of that country.  

According to Mpho Ramaselaga, a Geophysicist at the Institute, the team, which will be joined by other Geophysicists and Geoscientists from the neighbouring South Africa, will leave tomorrow morning.

“Our plan is to visit the epicentre where we will make assessments as well as to plant a seismograph there so that we can monitor if this is an active earthquake. If it happens to be an active earthquake, the seismograph will help us monitor it,” Ramaselaga told News24.

Ramaselaga said they would also seek to interview people from the communities close to the earthquake epicentre to get a clearer view of the incident.

While no immediate information was available as to how the communities fared, preliminary reports suggested that some minor casualties and structural damages were felt as far as 130km away from the earthquake’s epicentre.

Minor injuries 

According to reports from the National Disaster Management Office, at least 36 students from Mothamo Junior Secondary School in Moiyabana were affected by the incident, while 10 households from the village suffered some structural defects.

Moiyabana village, which is situated at least 132km west of the quake’s epicentre, was the only village reported to have felt the major brunt of the quake so far.

Of the 36 students affected, 30 were treated at the school; four were treated at the village clinic while two were referred to Sekgoma Memorial Hospital for treatment.

“As the earthquake happened during study time at the said government boarding school, a stampede broke out as everyone tried to escape and minor injuries were experienced. As for the two students who were referred to the hospital, one had sustained glass lacerations after he tried to escape through the window while the other one had his arm dislocated during the stampede,” NDMO Public Relations Officer Tebogo Modiakgotla revealed.

The earthquake was also said to have been felt in the mining town of Jwaneng where the Government Civil Centre building was said to have cracked.

The NDMO spokesperson could, however, could not shed light on the state of the mines surrounding the earthquake’s epicentre nor the settlements around the mines.

Gope, which is said to be closest to the epicentre of the earthquake, is home to the Gaghoo Diamond mine.

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