In the afternoon of 12/01/2010, a disaster in form of a 7.0 magnitude-on the Richter scale- earthquake struck Haiti, one of two republics that make up the Caribbean island of Hispaniola(The other being Dominican Republic).In the following hours and days ,incredible horror images of death, destruction and suffering streamed around the world and left many lost for words .About 250,000-a conservative figure- people lost their lives in that natural disaster.
In the city of Correfour,that has a population of 348,400,about 20,000 people were killed.I point out this particular city not because it was the most affected of all, but to draw attention to how it was affected differently from another city in another country,Christchurch, New Zealand, even when they faced the same kind of disaster and had almost same size of populations.
Though Christchurch was affected by a little lower magnitude of earthquake(6.3 on the Richter scale),the difference in casualty,deaths and destruction were not close to proportional.While in Correfour about 20,000 people died,only 185 deaths were recorded from the Christchurch earthquake disaster.In the latter, only one building was completely destroyed(Canterbury Television building) while in the former, 50% of all buildings in the city were completely destroyed.
The disparity could be explained by many factors at play, but one that comes out clear as the main,is the difference in the quality of buildings in the two cities.Haiti being the poorest country in the western hemisphere and one of the least developed countries in the world, has had challenges of establishment and management of building and construction standards.This has seen poor workmanship which translate to weak and dangerous buildings.On the other hand,New Zealand has very well-developed and implemented building construction standards that assure her citizens of structures around them that can witstand a huge amount of stress.
On 17 April 2012 at around 5am,residents of Nairobi and some other towns of Kenya were woken up by an earth tremor that, fortunately, was of low magnitude.When it strikes again,we do not know how big its magnitude will be.Earthquakes are natural phenomenons that have always happened from time immemorial and will keep rearing their ugly heads.It is not a question of if, but when and how ready we are.We,of course, can not stop earthquakes from occurring,at least not now,but we can minimise their effects by putting up buildings that can stand them when they strike.
House construction industry in Kenya is in anarchy and can only be compared by that of Haiti.The industry is driven by only one thing,greed.
A game of greed and selfish interest is being played by politicians,corrupt city hall officers and landlords at the cost of sanity and so security of tenants and Kenyans in general.You only need to drive along roads of Eastlands(Umoja,Kayole,Huruma,Majengo,Dandora etc.),and other informal and semi-informal settlements of Nairobi, then it will dawn on you that,with the quality of buildings in place and those coming up, the city is sitting on a bomb that needs only a small shake and what befell Haiti in the evening of 12th of Jan 2010, will visit the city of Nairobi(God forbid).
- Moderate earthquake close to Nairobi, Kenya (earthquake-report.com)