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Italy mourns quake victims, death toll rises to 291

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Italy on Saturday observed a day of national mourning for the people who died when a powerful 6.2-magnitude earthquake hit the mountainous central regions claiming the lives of 291 persons.

Flags flew at half mast across Italy as the country remembered the victims of the quake.

The death toll in the worst-hit town Amatrice was 230, while the number of victims in Accumoli and Arquato del Tronto were 11 and 50 respectively, Xinhua reported.

Authorities have released the names of 181 victims. The youngest was five months old, the oldest 93.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi attended state funerals for victims from Arquata, one of the worst-hit towns along with Amatrice, Accumoli and Pescara del Tronto that were also hard-hit.

The 6.2-magnitude quake hit in the early hours of Wednesday, 100km (65 miles) north-east of Rome.

Most victims of the earthquake were Italians, but several foreigners were among those killed, including three Britons.

A state of emergency was declared on Friday in affected areas and 50 million euros (about $55 million) in funds pledged for rebuilding, the BBC reported.

Many bodies were brought to a makeshift morgue in an aircraft hangar in the city of Rieti, where authorities and relatives are identifying them.

The first funeral for one of the earthquake victims was held on Friday, for the son of a state official who died in Amatrice.

At least 388 people have been treated in hospital for their injuries while more than 2,000 people were rendered homeless, the BBC noted.

The Italian government had been criticised for failing to prevent deaths after the 2009 earthquake in nearby L’Aquila killed 300 people.

In addition to emergency funds, Renzi cancelled taxes for residents and announced a new initiative, “Italian Homes”, to tackle criticism over shoddy construction.

But he also said it was “absurd” to think that Italy could build completely quake-proof buildings.IANS

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Earthquake hits Madhya Pradesh’s Singrauli region

Earthquake in Madhya Pradesh’s Singrauli: The earthquake hit the region at around 7.44 PM on Tuesday.

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Earthquake

An earthquake of magnitude 4.6 struck Madhya Pradesh’s Singrauli region on Tuesday. The earthquake hit the region at around 7.44 PM on Tuesday. No casualties or loss of property has been reported so far.

(This is a breaking news story; more details awaited)

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Earthquake to hit NCR creates fear among people

The scientists reached the conclusion of a devastating earthquake hitting Uttarakhand based on a study conducted in 2017.

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The news of an earthquake measuring more than eight on the Richter Scale may strike Delhi-NCR with Gurugram as its epicentre between April 7 and 15 has been viral on the internet.

Another prediction of a devastating quake to hit Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Nepal is also circulating which has instilled fear and panic among the people of the states.

The argument put forward by Piyush Rautela, Executive Director of Disaster Mitigation and Management Centre (DMMC) is “Frequent mild earthquakes in the hills of Uttarakhand should not be dismissed as common occurrences but treated as pointers to a major earthquake which is long overdue in the central seismic gap of the Himalayan front spanning Himachal Pradesh, Nepal and Uttarakhand.”

Rautela said the damage will be more in the thickly populated urban areas where there has been a rapid and unplanned growth of population and infrastructure.”

A message has been circulating of a warning that an earthquake measuring 9.1 on Richter scale would strike Delhi-NCR between April 7 and April 15 attributing the information to American space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration. But it is a hoax as scientists are yet to find ways to predict earthquakes.

Seismologists, however, are of the view that no proven method exists for predicting earthquakes with any accuracy and the best way to save lives from Earth’s wrath is to beef up construction standards and educate people about seismic risk.

The scientists reached the conclusion of a devastating earthquake hitting Uttarakhand based on a study conducted in 2017.

The surface of the earth sits on several gigantic tectonic plates that move by a few centimeters known as faults that develop each year. Most devastating earthquakes had occurred in the Indian sub-continent. In fact, geographical statistics show that at least 54 percent of India’s land is vulnerable to earthquakes and India has four seismic zones, I, II, III, IV and VII being the lowest and V being the highest.

But for sure preparedness remains the best defense against devastating earthquakes.There must be an investment in preparedness such as early warning systems, tsunami systems, relocation of people from locations deemed to be vulnerable to disasters.

Five districts in Uttarakhand having population approximately 3-3.5 million on the Indo-Nepal and Indo-Tibet borders come in seismic zone V.

A State-wide mega mock disaster management drill was conducted by the Gurgaon district administration in December 2017. The governments of Delhi and NCR region should play a proactive role by checking the authenticity of the prediction by the National mitigation Disaster Management institution and engaging themselves to participate in the mitigation of natural disasters.

The central government should also discourage the construction of a skyscraper on the lines of Japan which also falls in the seismic zone.

 

By Arti Bali

Sr Journalist

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6.8-magnitude quake hits Bolivia: USGS

Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) boffins issued a warning and forecast hazardous waves from the coast.

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A HUGE 6.8 magnitude earthquake has struck Bolivia in the Ring of Fire. It occurred near Tarija in the south of the country at a depth of 344 miles. The USGS estimates there is a 34% chance of damage and fatalities.

Its website states: “Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are resistant to earthquake shaking, though vulnerable structures exist.

“The predominant vulnerable building types are adobe block and rubble/field stone masonry construction.”

The South American country is located in the Ring of Fire, a basin of the Pacific Ocean prone to seismic activity.

It occurred 96 miles from the town of Kokopowhich, home to about 20,000 people.

Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) boffins issued a warning and forecast hazardous waves from the coast.

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