Mozambique: Earthquake OCHA Situation Report No. 1

Situation Report
Originally published
Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2005/0027
OCHA Situation Report No. 1
Mozambique - Earthquake
23 February 2006

1. Situation

An earthquake of a magnitude of 7.5 on the Richter scale struck Mozambique at 12:19 AM (local time) on Thursday 23 February 2006. According to the U.S. Geological Survey Earthquake Hazards Program (USGS), the epicentre was located at approximately 530 km to the north of the capital, Maputo, and 220 km to the south-west of Beira, Sofala Province.

The earthquake was felt up to Maputo and Beira where thousands of people fled into the streets, as well as in south-eastern Zimbabwe, and as far south as Durban, South Africa.

The earthquake, which occurred near the southern end of the East African rift system, is believed to be one of the largest in the region since 1900.

2. Needs

No information is yet available on casualties or the extent of the damage in large cities or in the areas close to the epicentre, which are primarily rural. Access to these areas is believed to be limited by poor road infrastructure or mine infestation.

3. Response

The authorities have organised assessment missions to the affected areas, and requested UN assistance to provide two helicopters in support of these missions to the remote areas.

The Council of Ministers held an emergency meeting early this morning, which was followed by a technical meeting, gathering all sectoral ministries and UN agencies representatives, called by the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC). Further details on needs and response activities will be made available pending preliminary findings from the assessment missions.

4. Coordination

National disaster response coordination is handled by the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC), which is placed under the umbrella of the Ministry of State Administration (MAE).

UN support to the government is coordinated by the UN Resident Coordinator. The OCHA Regional Office for Southern Africa is maintaining regular contact with the Resident Coordinator in order to determine additional coordination support needs.

5. Contact

Ms. Marylène Spezzati, UN Resident Coordinator: + 258 21 481 425
Mr. Peter Reeh, UN Resident Coordinator Special Assistant: + 258 21481464
Mr. Jean-Luc Tonglet, OCHA Regional Office for Southern Africa: + 27 11 517 1661

6. This situation report, together with further information on ongoing emergencies, is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at

Telephone: +41-22-917 12 34
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23

In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10

Desk Officers:

Mr. Alfred Nabeta, direct Tel. +41-22-917 2732
Mr. Jamie McGoldrick, direct Tel. +41-22-917 1712

Press contact:

(GVA) Ms. Elizabeth Byrs, direct Tel. +41-22-917 26 53
(N.Y.) Ms. Stephanie Bunker, direct Tel. +1-917-367 5126

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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