Malawi

Three dead as second earthquake hits northern Malawi

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By Francis Musasa, Malawi Red Cross Society

Two weeks after being shaken by a series of magnitude 5.8 tremors, the northern Malawian district of Karonga was hit again on Sunday 20 December by a magnitude 6.2 earthquake. Three people were reported killed in this week's quake, joining a young child who was killed in the 6 December disaster.

According to local authorities, almost 200 people have been injured in this most recent event, with 81 evacuated to a referral hospital in the northern city of Mzuzu. According to radio and newspaper reports, collapsing roofs and walls left the victims with broken limbs and skin lacerations.

In all, it is estimated that as many as 6,000 households - perhaps 36,000 people - were affected, with almost 1,000 houses having collapsed and a further 2,800 having been damaged.

The Malawi Red Cross Society was already active following the 6 December earthquake and was immediately able to make available tents, shelter kits, mosquito nets and kitchen items to families in need. Earlier this month the IFRC released approximately 300,000 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support Malawi Red Cross efforts to help almost 10,000 people in the wake of the 6 December tremors.

It is clear, though, that with this most recent earthquake, the needs of affected communities and the scale of the Red Cross response will increase significantly.