Earthquake Early Warning System: A Solution for Life Rescue in Health Facilities and Risks Mitigation for the population of the Virunga Region

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Jean Marie Vianney Nkurunziza
Jean Claude Udahemuka
Francine Umutesi
Jean Baptiste Dusenge


Earthquake, early warning, Rwanda, Virunga region, health facilities, Disaster, Seismic activity


The desire for earthquake hazard mitigation has been the focus of many researchers and governments for decades. This is paramount because an earthquake disaster can quickly cause many injuries, fatalities, and damages. The global database of the 21,000 most devastating disasters (earthquakes included) since 1900 indicates that 50% of them with the most significant number of injuries occurred only during the past 20 years. In human history, the Xaanxi earthquake is ranked third among the disasters that claimed more lives. In addition, earthquakes contributed to six of the most deadly disasters of the past two decades and 21% of the economic losses. In the same period, the earthquakes due to the Virunga volcanic activity were responsible for more than 100 deaths and extensive material and infrastructure damage. The referenced information and statistical data about the earthquake occurrence process, adverse effects, economic losses, and the current technological success in reducing its risks through warning systems are the basis for developing this paper. The authors aim to raise awareness and recommend that the Virunga region countries (Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda) be a good place for an Earthquake Early Warning System and Earthquake Management Plan. An Earthquake Early Warning System even caught the attention of the United Nations, where the endorsed Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR, 2015) specified that early warning must be a priority and has to be substantially evolved by 2030.


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