Nobody predicted the Big One.
One morning, shortly before 6am East Africa Time, what had generally been considered a low activity faultline near the East African Rift became suddenly, intensely active.
With a moment of magnitude above nine, and with intense tremors lasting for over half an hour, many people across East Africa and parts of Arabia lost their lives as buildings collapsed or floors buckled.
Parts of the East African Rift permanently flooded with seawater. Tsunami waves reached the shores of India and Australia. The government of Somalia – already troubled at that time – was overwhelmed in civil conflict and in only a matter of weeks, the state was portioned into small fiefdoms ruled over by warlords and petty criminals, or the remnants of the state and military.
As the warlords began to encroach on neighbouring Ethiopia and the security of the Pan-African Parliament in Addis Ababa, the African Union and international aid groups, along with the United Nations, began to intervene.
It’s safe to say that, without the Big One, the Rift Valley metroplex, New Mogadishu, and the Pan-African Space Elevator project might not be a reality.