P.O. Box 952 Code 1,110

Addis Ababa,

(251)011 5159787  (251) 0911 642575/ 0911 246639

Fax (251) 0115538820 Field Office, Logya (25133) 5500002










Statement on the current earthquake

in central Afar Region


October 9th, 2005

1.                       In summary


As of September 29th with the initial cracking of the earth’s surface, tremors have been felt daily. Today’s report from the affected area states the tremors are now diminishing strength. After the initial quake on September 29th, there was a further opening up of the earth’s surface on October 3rd. The areas affected are Boyna and Dabaaho in Teeru Woreda and an area into Dubte Woreda between Digdiga in Teeru and Seykoyta in Dubte Woreda. Too, while there has not been any contact with people from the place, it is reported that 4 water sources in Mabay kebele, Teeru Woreda have been sucked underground.

Therefore the actual damage to the environment can be summarized as follows:

a)      In Boyna and the adjoining kebele of Dabaaho, land used as traditional steam wells by the pastoralists split open on September 29th causing an enormous volume of steam to pour out. This gave the initial impression of volcanic eruption. The land crack extends for some kilometers

b)      In Digdiga kebele, Teeru 3 water sources were sucked underground

c)      It is not substantiated but verbal news has it that 4 water sources in Mabay were sucked underground.

d)      An earth crack has arisen between Digdiga and Seykoyta, a previously constructed but non-functional road connecting the area to Semara, the Regional capital.

All named districts form an adjoining belt across eastern Teeru Woreda and into the adjoining Dubte Woreda.


2.                       Background


Afar Region is on a known fault line, the last earthquake having occurred in March 2003 not far from the current site in north - western Dubte Woreda. Then, the historic Kori water source was sucked underground and the earth has opened up an ever- widening crack that extends for some 35 kilometers. The region’s active volcano, Ert’ale in the Danakal Depression is some 100 kilometers north of the currently affected site. As mentioned above, the site of the initial quake (Boyna and Dabaaho) is where Afar have been harvesting the steam that comes out of the ground as condensed drinking water for some centuries.


3.                       Human displacement and casualty


At the initial earthquake some 500 people fled from the area into kebeles of Teeru Woreda in the central grazing basin as follows:

a)      300 people from Boyna moved into Barantu and Ibiidi kebeles

b)      200 people from Dabaaho moved into Maramara and Ibiidi.


Miraculously, there is no reported loss of life and the only injury to date is that of a woman who incurred a broken arm from falling rocks.


4.                       Animal loss


The community reports the following animal losses – mostly animals were burnt by steam erupting from the split ground:




Goats/ Sheep



















5.                       Need for assistance


While WFP are reportedly delivering food to Teeru Woreda, the main need is that of household goods and drinking water containers for the 500 displaced people.


Action Contre Le Faim, MSF France and UNICEF have also visited the affected area along with DPP &FSB and government officials.


On advice of a volcanologist, the government is trying to move people from all neighboring kebeles. To date, people are showing reluctance stating they now have optimum grazing in Teeru for their animals right now and they are not willing to risk taking animals to other areas.