The Government of Liberia last Friday, 18 August announced that an earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale occurred approximately 880 kilometers off the coast of Liberia.
Information Minister, Lenn Eugene Nagbe, in a press release said although the quake presents no immediate threat of a tsunami here, but the public should remain alert.
Nagbe assures that relevant agencies of government, including the national security apparatus with the help of the United States Geological Service, are continuing to monitor the situation and will readily inform the public as new and additional information becomes available.
We caution the general public to give this piece of information a serious attention by being on the watch for any unusual shake in the earth, any community or in any part of the country.
There is very little that we as a nation can do except quick alert and prompt evacuation if an earth were to occur today in any area of Liberia. In other words, immediate alert should be followed by instantaneous action to move population from affected areas to safety by every means possible including airlifting, capacity that this country seriously lack.
Also known as a tremor or temblor, an earthquake is the shaking of the surface of the earth, resulting from the sudden release of energy in the earth's lithosphere that creates seismic waves. Earthquakes can range in size from those that are so weak that they cannot be felt to those violent enough to toss people around and destroy whole cities.
At the Earth's surface, earthquakes manifest themselves by shaking and sometimes displacement of the ground. When the epicenter of a large earthquake is located offshore, the seabed may be displaced sufficiently to cause a tsunami. Quakes are caused mostly by rupture of geological faults, but also by other events such as volcanic activity, landslides, mine blasts, and nuclear tests.
Former Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy, Dr. Eugene Shannon, recently urged Liberians to take heed and institute measures to prevent natural disasters, specifically warning that the country contains geological features in several regions including Monrovia, where people have established settlements below sea level, on and beneath hill tops containing loose soils and poor vegetation.
He recommends the planting of vegetation, evacuation from vulnerable areas, discouraging sand mining and the dumping of garbage in drainage and waterways, among others, as measures that could help safeguard the environment against natural disasters such as mudslides, flood, or probable quake.
We therefore stress the need to heed the alert from the government and to give it full attention by keeping close watch on sounds and movements around us, particularly in the earth that would enable us to respond swiftly if there were any eventualities to avoid a national calamity of proportion like the recent flood and mudslides in neighboring Sierra Leone