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Informal settlements in Cape Town are a “safe place” during the earthquake

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By Nathan Adams 3 hours ago

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Fuchu Incanini in Khayelitsha is taken from Baden-Powell Street. Photo: Tracey Adams / African News Agency (ANA)

Being in a hut has been described as the safest place in the event of a devastating earthquake in the mother city.

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, a slight earthquake measuring 3.4 on the Richter scale struck the west coast of Saldanha Bay and can be felt throughout the city. On September 26, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of the Cape.

University of Pretoria professor of physics, Andre Kejo, said there was some irony in the fact that informal settlements and towns in Cape Town were somewhat better protected for this type of disaster.

The best example of this is Japan. There they build houses out of bamboo. So even an earthquake there will not destroy and hurt because it is very mild. The problem is if it is very heavy, for example, concrete ceilings.

“The shantytown … will be destroyed, but it is not as dangerous as the houses we live in when we only have concrete, bricks and cement. Ironically, buildings from shantytowns are safer.”

He said the Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant was built and designed to withstand a strong earthquake.

“Koeberg was designed after 1969 after the earthquake in Ceres and Tulbagh of magnitude 6.3. It was designed to accelerate the earthquake by 0.3 g (G-force) … so even if a strong earthquake of magnitude 7 occurred in the vicinity of Koeberg, it would do some damage, but they did By building it in such a way that the reactor would be built on rubber columns. “

Unfortunately, there is no way to predict the date and time of the next tremor or earthquake or to predict how damaging it will be.

“On average, we record about 200 seismic events a week across the country, and there are seismographs scattered across the country and these stations operate around the clock, seven days a week that send data,” said Michel Grobelaar, chief scientist at the Earth Science Council. To our main office. In Pretoria. “

She added that even these recent earthquakes do not indicate what might happen in the future.

She said: “We can try to reach a statistical guess, but there is always a mistake within two years and there are no guarantees.”

Both Kijko and Grobbelaar confirmed that the Cape Town City Disaster Management Unit receives annual briefings and have made scenario planning where they simulated a disaster and how to manage it.

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