African Quakes Kill at Least 40

Hundreds injured; residents avoid returning home after houses topple
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 3, 2008 6:35 PM CST
Some of 81 would-be migrants wait to be taken to a shelter after arriving before dawn in a single engine vessel in the port of Los Cristianos in Tenerife, Spain, Friday, April 13, 2007. (AP Photo/Arturo...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A pair of earthquakes killed at least 40 people and injured nearly 400 in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo today, AFP and the AP report. The first quake measured 6.0 on the Richter scale and the second, less than 4 hours later, 5.0. Public buses carted casualties to hospitals as rescue crews dug victims out of toppled houses.

“People are panicking so much they’re afraid to return home,” one resident said. “They’re afraid of being surprised by aftershocks.” One scientist called the first quake one of the “biggest earthquakes ever recorded” in a region bordering Rwanda and Uganda, which has seen seismic activity but little catastrophic damage.