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Why you need to prepare for the next earthquake

Seismologists have been predicting for some time that an earthquake is overdue in India.

india Updated: Mar 14, 2003 11:45 IST
PTI

Seismologists have been predicting for some time that an earthquake is overdue in India. As the Indian plate keeps subducting, ie going under the Eurasian plate at the rate of about two metres annually, the pressure building up along the fault lines is enormous. And this is where the difference between being prepared and being caught unawares will lie. While the California and Latur earthquakes were approximately of the same magnitude, about 10,000 more people died in Maharashtra. A lot, if not all of these lives could have been saved had some safety precautions been taken.

Also earthquakes have their own prejudices about where they want to strike. The world, including India has been mapped into various seismic zones, which estimate the possibility of earthquakes in the region. Most of India lies in the high-risk categories, which means all of us need to be prepared.

Fortunately, we can take certain steps to protect ourselves from extensive damage due to earthquakes. These steps can be both long term and short term. A necessary step is to identify the possible high risk scenarios and take pre-emptive steps.

Seismic hazard studies are already being done across the country. The nodal organisation responsible for this, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) headquarted at Delhi, has set up a number of earthquake monitoring stations. While some of these can measure only earthquakes of magnitude 4 and over, the more sensitive instruments can detect even microearthquakes.

First Published: Mar 05, 2003 15:39 IST