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Strong earthquake hits off Tanzania

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The epicenter of Wednesday's earthquake (Google Maps)

A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.0 has struck off the coast of Tanzania, about 80 kilometers southeast of Dar es Salaam. The earthquake was widely felt but there were no immediate reports of injuries.

The quake, which struck at 8:13 p.m. local time on Wednesday, was centered in the ocean about 34 kilometers east of Kuruti Island. It struck just 15 kilometers below the seafloor, making it a very shallow earthquake.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said the earthquake had a preliminary magnitude of 6.0. Computer models show that 8.9 million people may have felt the earthquake, including 59,000 people at a “moderate” intensity.

Many people across the region reported feeling the earthquake, especially along the coast and on nearby islands. This includes Dar es Salaam, Mafia Island, Zanzibar, and Mombasa, Kenya. There were no immediate reports of injuries or serious damage.

One person in Dar es Salaam described feeling a “very light rumble” when the tremors hit. “[It] caused the objects on my table to wobble fervently but never in danger of toppling of falling over,” the resident told EMSC.

Kevser Kocadağ, who lives in Chukwani in Zanzibar, was in bed at the time of the earthquake. “At first I thought the floor would collapse, later I realized it was an earthquake. It was quite frightening,” Kevser said.

Robert Irina, who is in Mombasa, said: “A tremor was felt lasting not more than 10 seconds in and around Mombasa. Several colleagues and friends felt it.”

This was the strongest earthquake in the region since September 2016, when a 5.9-magnitude earthquake hit northwest Tanzania, killing at least 17 people and injuring more than 400. And in December 2009, a 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck Malawi, killing 4 people.

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