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Kadavu Earthquake: We Felt The Ground & Houses Shake, Kadavu Islanders Tell

This morning’s (yesterday) quake was frightening. A benzene lamp hanging on the post fell. Lucky it was not lit. We use it at night. If the quake had struck at night when the lamp was lit, it would have been a different story. It would have caused a fire.
21 Oct 2019 11:45
Kadavu Earthquake: We Felt The Ground & Houses Shake, Kadavu Islanders Tell
Damage to the ground in Kadavu as a result of the earthquake on October 20, 2019. Inset:A landslide (circled) can be seen on Mt Washington ridge in Kadavu.

Retired school teacher Ruca Senitavu Luvurowaqa is no stranger to earthquakes.

When the ground and her house shook at 8.30am yesterday at Tavuki Village, Kadavu, it reminded her of a similar earthquake that hit the island in the 1990s when she was teaching at Ratu Nacagilevu School.

“This morning’s (yesterday) quake was frightening. A benzene lamp hanging on the post fell. Lucky it was not lit. We use it at night. If the quake had struck at night when the lamp was lit, it would have been a different story. It would have caused a fire,” she said.

“Plates and cutlery fell breaking into pieces. It was a scary experience even though it was not as strong as the 1990s quake. That quake caused damages to some schools and forced their closure.”

She said she was preparing breakfast when she could feel the earthquake.

Damage to the ground in Kadavu as a result of the earthquake on October 20, 2019.

Damage to the ground in Kadavu as a result of the earthquake on October 20, 2019.

No injuries reported

The kettle was boiling on a primus and it also fell to the floor.

“I was shocked as it was quick and I was not prepared for it.”

She said other houses in Tavuki experienced something similar. She said they were lucky that there were no injuries reported.

Bulou Ravuicake Matairakula from Vabea village said it was a very strong earthquake.

“Au sa reto na lako kina dua tale na vanua.” (I was really frightened to go to another place.”)

She thanked the good Lord that there were no injuries and no damage to their houses.

Her daughter-in-law Mere Maria said some of her utensils broke as a result of the quake.

It even shook the houses and trees.

The earthquake measured 5.3 on the Richter scale.

Kadavu Earthquake 2 -Lai Vakaloloma - Facebook

Tiliva Village spokesperson (turaga-ni-koro) Mosese Waqa said the earthquake was short so fortunately, there were no infrastructure damages or reports of injuries on Kadavu.

The Acting Commissioner Eastern Inoke Tuiwainunu reiterated Mr Waqa’s sentiments and said: “No injury or loss of life and no damage to infrastructure.”

He also said there was no tsunami alert given.

‘Natural disaster workshops needed for maritime villages’

A report from the Department of Lands and Mineral Resources said – “A moderate earthquake with shallow depth source location occurred 26 km NNW from Vunisea, Kadavu. However, it does not pose any immediate tsunami threat to the region.”

The report said: Magnitude: 5.3 mb and Depth: 10 kilometres.

Tabuya Village representative in Suva, Alowesi Kaleca, said he contacted the village yesterday. He said that while they felt the 5.3 mb earthquake there were also no reports of injuries or damages to houses.

However, he advised them at the time to go up the hill just in case of a tsunami occurring.

He said it was time that workshops on natural disasters were organised in maritime villages.

“In any natural disaster, villagers should know what to do,” he said.

A landslide (circled) can be seen on Mt Washington ridge in Kadavu.

A landslide (circled) can be seen on Mt Washington ridge in Kadavu.

Mr Kaleca said he advised the village headman to make a decision on whether they should attend church or to go up the hill just in case of a tsunami. He said the Sunday service continued.

Mr Kaleca said all the villages in the Nabukelvu District were affected by the earthquake, but all were safe. He said a big rock fell off from Washington Mountain, but no one was hurt when it rolled down in a landslide

“We could see the mark as someone posted the picture of its path.”

At Namalata Village, headman Paula Niukula said they felt the tremor as it shook all of them including the houses and trees.

“We thank the Lord that no one was injured,” he said.

All the nine districts in Kadavu felt the tremor.

The nine districts are Tavuki (11 villages); Ravitaki (7 villages); Sanima (5 villages); Nabukelevu (11 villages); Yawe (6 villages); Naceva (12 villages); Yale (5 villages); Nakasaleka (11 villages); and Ono (7 villages).

The epicentre of the earthquake.

The epicentre of the earthquake.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: maikab@fijisun.com.fj

Earthquakes in Fiji 

Earthquakes occur throughout the world but certain areas are more prone to them than others. Unfortunately, Fiji is within the Pacific Ring of Fire, the zone of earthquakes and volcanoes which surrounds the Pacific Ocean.

Although there are no volcanoes in Fiji and the number of earthquakes is somewhat less than for the most active areas around the Pacific such as Japan, Alaska. Chile and nearby Tonga. Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea, the risk from earthquakes is similar to that in New Zealand, which is relatively high by world standards.

The first known historical earthquake report in Fiji describes an earthquake at Kadavu in about 1850.

It states: “A recent earthquake had been felt throughout the greater part of Feejee, but was so tremendous in Kadavu that the earth opened in several parts and destroyed a great number of people.

“In one part it shook down a large cave and buried thirty or forty women who had taken shelter for the night, having been on a fishing excursion.”

Details of other severe earthquakes, such as those which were reported in 1869 (upper Rewa River), 1884 (Macuata), 1902 (Yasawas). 1919 (Rabi), 1932 (Rabi and Koro). 1953 (Suva). 1979 (Taveuni) and 1998 (Kadavu) are given in the Table and their locations are shown in the earthquake map overleaf.

The Zones of Earthquake Activity Earthquakes occur in several zones which are outlined in the map inset. Offshore activity occurs to the northeast and east of Vanua Levu and Taveuni, north of the Yasawas and Vanua Levu, to the west of Viti Levu and around Kadavu. Southeastern Viti Levu shows activity and another belt of seismicity which is not clear definable possibly extends from near southwestern Vanua Levu through Koro than arcs around to the southwest to south of Kadavu.

Screenshot 2019-10-21 at 9.19.37 AM

The magnitude of the largest earthquake known to have occurred in each zone is given in the table above.

Source: Ministry of Land and Mineral Resources

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

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