News reports show that earth tremors occurred on Sunday and Monday, 11 and 12 September, 2016, in Kaduna State of Nigeria.
The affected communities are Kwoi, headquarters of Jaba Local Government Area, Sunday around 10:30 a.m. and Sambang Dagi also in the same Local Government Area, around 2 a.m. on Monday. Also, loud sounds were heard from the tremor.
The unusual incident created fear among the residents. People of Sambang Dagi were said to have kept watch during the dark early hours of the morning.
Interestingly, the governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, took necessary action regarding the incident.
In a press statement, he appealed to the residents to remain calm and sympathized with them.
He directed the State Emergency Management Agency to mobilise to the location and also invited the National Geological Agency to investigate the incident.
Although no lives were lost, more than 300 houses were affected by the tremor. The affected houses either received cracks or collapsed, the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, reported.
Minor earthquakes are called tremors. Earthquakes are caused when there is a sudden release of stress in underlying rocks causing the ground to vibrate.
Deep below the earth surface, the earth crust is made up of huge blocks of rock, called plates, which are in regular slow motion.
There are several large plates within the continents and numerous smaller ones.
Because they are in motion, sometimes they press against each other and there is a build-up of stress. This can occur at plate lines of boundaries called faults.
This stress can lead to sudden fracture of the rocks leading to vibrations and an earthquake occurs.
The location on a fault where fracture occurs is called the focus while the location directly above it on the ground surface is called the epicentre which suffers the most severe damage.
The farer a place is from the epicentre, the less damage it experiences.
The lines of fault where earthquakes have occurred include the edge of the pacific in New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Japan, United States of America, Nepal, Turkey, Iran, Mexico and Uzbekistan.
Although earthquake can occur anywhere, its occurrence is mostly concentrated along lines of fault.
Nigeria, and indeed most of Africa, does not lie along a line of fault and so earthquake occurrence is rare here.
But it can occur just as it has occurred in Kaduna State. It can occur again in any part of Nigeria.
The tremors that occurred in Kaduna State should awaken earthquake consciousness in Nigerians. Measures should be taken to reduce the scale of destructiveness in the event of an earthquake.
Buildings should be constructed to be earthquake resistant with Factor of Safety for earthquake.
This should especially be the case for high rise buildings that can collapse or topple over.
The situation should change in Nigeria where building regulation is enforced only in some capital cities of the Federation.
Building authorities exist in other towns, but they are mostly inactive or they are bribed into silence.
Thank God Nigeria has such organizations as National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, and National Geological Agency.
Assistance should be quickly available in the event of an occurrence of earthquake.
Those who suffer injury should be taken to hospital and those whose properties are damaged should have physical assistance.
People should have a culture of safety in the event of an earthquake. They should be taught what measures should be taken to enhance safety during earthquake incident.
The Richter scale is popularly used to measure the magnitude of an earthquake.
A magnitude of 3.0 on this scale may not be perceptible, numerous occurrences of earthquakes around this magnitude occur each year unnoticed, whereas a magnitude of 7.0 may wreak real havoc.
When an earthquake occurs at the depth of an ocean floor or in sparsely populated area, the damage can be minimal.
But its occurrence in densely populated area often causes large damages. Damages experienced in an earthquake may involve landslides.
This is of interest in Nigeria where a lot of mining activities are taking place. As buildings sway, there may be falling objects that can injure or kill a person.
Electric lines may be disrupted.
There is no doubt that earth tremors and earthquakes cause severe damages. Simple measures in the right direction will help to minimise losses.
Information on these should be made to reach every part of the country.
From Ephraim Elombah, Email: email@example.com, Phone: +2348055516177