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South Africans told not to panic following tremors

University of Johannesburg’s Herman van Niekerk says the same size tremor may affect places differently, depending on a number of factors.

A strong earthquake struck in a remote region of Botswana on Monday 3 April 2017, causing tremors in neighbouring South Africa. Picture: earthquaketrack.com

JOHANNESBURG – South Africans have been told not to panic following recent earth tremors.

A 5.6 magnitude earthquake hit parts of southern Africa on Monday.

Emergency services say no injuries were reported, however, officials have been on high alert for any aftershocks.

University of Johannesburg’s Herman van Niekerk says the same size tremor may affect places differently depending on a number of factors.

“If you’ve got houses and structures that are not properly built and so forth, you can even have small earthquakes and this will result in serious damage.”

He says mining activity may not have necessarily played any role in the shakes.

“This is not necessarily due to mining activity. There’s a couple of research projects ongoing at the moment trying to determine whether some of the larger earthquakes that we do see in the mining areas are mining induced.”

Emergency services and paramedics have urged South Africans to remain calm and seek places of safety in the event of another tremor or aftershock in the days to come.

STRONG QUAKE HITS BOTSWANA

A strong earthquake struck in a remote region of Botswana on Monday near the renowned Kalahari game reserve, sending shockwaves across the southern African country, though, there were no early reports of casualties or damage.

The magnitude 6.5 quake’s epicentre was nearly 250km north-northwest of the capital Gaborone at a depth of 12km, the US Geological Survey said.

Former US President George W Bush is due to visit the city on Tuesday to highlight the importance of America’s overseas humanitarian aid, officials have said.

Anglo American said in an email that there were “no reported safety incidents or damage to infrastructure” to any of its operations in Botswana caused by the earthquake.

Tremors were also felt in neighbouring South Africa.

“We certainly felt (the quake) here in central Gaborone. The buildings ... were trembling,” said Botswana’s chief government spokesperson Jeff Ramsay.

“We don’t have any reports of casualties or damage yet but its a bit early to tell.”

Kgosi Kgomokgwana, the traditional chief of Moiyabana, a village close to the epicentre, said: “This is the first time we have felt something like that in this area.”

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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