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Mumbai beware! tsunami knocks

The prediction -- tsunami could next occur in Arabian Sea -- is based on correlation between earlier tsunamis.

india Updated: Sep 28, 2005 18:52 IST

A second tsunami could hit India in November this year but this time around the killer wave could strike the Mumbai and Gujarat coastline, Indo-Canadian tsunami expert Tad Murthy says.

His prediction that the tsunami could next occur in the Arabian Sea is based on the possible correlation between two tsunamis. He believes that the tsunamis in the subcontinent follow a 60-year cycle during which the strain is built up in the earth's crust.

"The last tsunami in the Arabian Sea occurred in 1945. Exactly 60 years after that, the Bay of Bengal was disturbed last year. There could be a correlation here and the tsunami might hit the shore before the end of this year," Murthy told IANS.

"Before the 1945 sea surge, a tsunami had occurred in 1883, following an earthquake in Indonesia," he said.

Andhra Pradesh-born Murthy asked Gujarat to be prepared to the tsunami that could hit India's western coastline, especially the ports of Kandla and Bhavnagar in Gujarat.

Murthy said Mumbai could also be hard hit by the possible disaster. "While buildings would be spared, slums would be the worst hit. Mumbai could also be affected if a tsunami were to strike Karachi in Pakistan," he said.

Tad, short for Tadepalli Murthy, was born in Tadepalligudem in West Godavari district.

He is currently in India as part of the Canadian delegation that is participating in the Indo-Canadian science and technology summit meetings in Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai.

At a talk here Tuesday night, Arun V Bapat, seismologist consultant of the Gujarat state disaster management authority, said Gujarat was planning to use mobile phones to send 3,000 SMSs to 9,000 people in three seconds at night to alert them of the impending disaster.

He said the administration was also considering three to four-meter-high mangrove plantations to prevent damage in the event of a tsunami.

Bapat pointed out that the devastating Jan 6, 2001, earthquake had triggered five-meter-high waves on the Gujarat coastline. The earthquake had claimed more than 20,000 lives.

Bapat said that since a tsunami could target both Gujarat and Maharashtra, they were working along with the southern states to set up a tsunami warning system on the western coastline.

Murthy said the countries in the Indian Ocean had not learnt any lesson from last year's tsunami, which killed over 200,000 people in Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India and other countries in the region.

"There are about 35 countries along the Indian Ocean but barring Australia and India, nobody has taken the initiative to set up a warning system," he said.

Praising the disaster management set-up in India, Murthy said it was one of the top 10 in the world and the country also had a good cyclone warning system.

Murthy said India's response to the disaster was better than the US handling of Hurricane Katrina that lashed the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama on the US Gulf coast.

First Published: Sep 28, 2005 18:52 IST