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