A large earthquake has been felt this evening in Southend, Canvey and all along the South Essex coastline, with a number of homes and businesses reporting damage to property – geologists have stated that the seismic activity along the area’s Boyraceus Fault has measured about 5.8 on the Richter scale.
According to witness reports, the earthquake lasted for around 60 seconds at 6.03pm, and Southend News Network first reported on the risk of an earthquake taking place a few months ago.
However, it has also emerged this evening that local authorities were ‘completely unprepared’ for the earthquake, and residents on Canvey Island have expressed their horror at moving a full 30 feet further away from the mainland.
Patricia Levell is just one of thousands of Canvey residents who are unable to return home this evening, and she spoke to our Chief Reporter a few moments ago.
She said: ‘According to police officers the whole island has shifted 30 feet to the south, and this has destroyed both road links to the island as they have fallen into The Thames.’
‘Apparently Essex County Council and Castle Point Borough Council haven’t planned ahead for this sort of thing, and it could be months until we can get back to our homes.’
‘I left a casserole in the slow cooker this morning and it will be ruined, and the electric bill could bankrupt me!’
A spokesperson for Castle Point Borough Council said: ‘When it comes to disaster planning on Canvey Island, we have always made flood prevention the top priority, and so an earthquake on this scale was always going to catch us off-guard.
‘To be fair, this could actually be a blessing in disguise as we could use the Benfleet Station bridge collapse as an opportunity to build it somewhere else where it won’t lead to utter chaos every time a single vehicle breaks down or just stops to pick somebody up without going in the main car park.’
In neighbouring Southend On Sea, local government officials confirmed that the majority of public buildings had escaped any serious damage.
However, the fountains on Southend Seafront have become misaligned, with seven jets of water now pointing directly into the road.