Japan quake reminds us of India's vulnerability: NDMA | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Japan quake reminds us of India's vulnerability: NDMA

delhi Updated: Mar 21, 2011 17:51 IST
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With Japan's horror still unfolding, National Disaster Management Authority says the catastrophe is a reminder of how vulnerable India is and an indication that "we still have miles to go" in making all vulnerable structures earth quake resistant.

"In spite of Japan being highly equipped and fully prepared, when the disaster struck them, the country was devastated. It reminds us of our vulnerability. Disaster management is not a one-day job. We have already done mistakes in not closely monitoring our constructions in the past," a senior official in NDMA said.

He said the US took almost 70 years to ensure that its skyscrapers are made earthquake resistant. "We will take many years. We still have miles to go," he said.

Since making all buildings earthquake resistant is a state subject, NDMA has already written to almost all the states to ensure safe construction as per disaster management guidelines, "but no substantial response has been received."

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said the nuclear crisis in Japan has underlined the need for revisiting strategies for safety of atomic plants.

He told Parliament that he has already ordered a "technical review" of all such installations to check if they can withstand the impact of major natural disasters like tsunami and earthquakes in the wake of the catastrophe in Japan threatening a nuclear meltdown.

"The tragic nuclear incidents in Japan in the aftermath of the recent earthquake and tsunami should make us revisit strategies for nuclear safety, learning lessons from these experiences," the Prime Minister said.

Singh said Indian nuclear plants have in the past met the safety standards during the major natural calamities like January 26, 2002 Gujarat earthquake and the December 2004 tsunami.

While 38 cities in India fall in the moderate to high-risk seismic zones, the NDMA official said, "We need to take into consideration structural safety, mitigation and preparedness and immediate response. Lifeline buildings and telephone booths need to be retrofitted and critical installations in zone five areas should not be allowed."

When contacted, Director General of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Rajiv said, "We have worked during the earthquake in Bhuj. We may be sending a team to Japan. We are prepared and our boys trained. We remain alert and our teams reach where and when required."

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the March 11 quake was the largest ever recorded in Japan and is the world's fifth largest earthquake to strike since 1900.