Published On: Thu, Jan 7th, 2016

MHA disaster management wing warns of mega quake in Himalayan region

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A magnitude 8 and up earthquake can hit Uttarakhand, Himanchal, Delhi and North eastern belt of Himalayas soon say experts

The Union home ministry’s disaster management experts have warned of a bigger catastrophe, earthquakes with a magnitude of 8.2 or greater on the Richter scale which may hit the already ruptured Himalayan region.

They say quakes with higher intensity than the one that struck Manipur on Monday are likely to rock the region in future. The tectonic shift a series of these recent earthquakes have caused in the region — Manipur 6.7 (Jan 2016), Nepal 7.3 (May 2015) and Sikkim 6.9 (2011) — have re-ruptured the plates that had already developed cracks during previous temblors. This has led to conditions which might trigger multiple earthquakes which may go up to 8.0 in magnitude.

NIDM director Santosh Kumar said: “The entire Himalayan region is considered to be vulnerable to high intensity earthquakes of a magnitude exceeding 8.0 on the Richter Scale, and in a relatively short span of about 50 years, four such major earthquakes have occurred in the region.” The warning is made in an NIDM disaster risk profile .Poor building control across India could leave heavily populated areas devastated, it warned

In a post-Nepal disaster assessment, the MHA’s National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) has warned of enhanced risk around the “ring of fire garlanding the entire north India especially the mountains”. This was also highlighted at a recent meeting organised by the Centre in Arunachal Pradesh’s capital Itanagar where policy-makers from 11 hill states had participated and resolved to develop a common building code for mountains.

Stress has increased in the mountains of north-east since the Nepal earthquake. Monday’s 6.7 magnitude earthquake in Manipur shows the stress has not been fully released, it has only become worse. “The collision between the Himalayan plate in the north and the Indo-Burmese plate in the east and the risk created as a result is the highest at this moment,” according to NIDM experts.

India is divided into four seismic zones. The most active Zone V comprises of the whole of north-east, parts of north Bihar, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, J&K, Gujarat and Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Delhi comes under Zone IV and is considered as one of the high-risk areas.

According to MHA’s own assessment, the regulatory mechanism in Indian cities that prominently figure on the disaster map are weak and any disaster striking in any one of these populous cities would cause huge casualties.

The UN office for disaster risk reduction (UNISDR), which considers India a valuable partner and had even acknowledged the leadership of minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju and made him a disaster risk reduction champion for Asia two months ago, has emphasised India’s need for compliance with building codes and the necessity for an “enhanced preparedness for effective response to earthquakes.”

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  1. Janaina says:

    VJKrishna..I am from your neighbouring state..well acatluly above your state.I am 31 and I’ve been to the char dham yatra, though i covered only three dhams due to time constraints.I’ve been to Gangotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath. I could not go to Yamunotri. Let me only say one thing about Himalayas. THERE IS NOTHING LIKE THE HIMALAYAS IN THE WORLD . Its absolute privilige and bliss to visit them. The trip acatluly changed my entire perspective of life and the way we live in the cities. I was in a totally different world. I ve been some of the best moutains in the world, be it european alps, america or Australia but there is nothing like the himalayas.The places around the world are scenic, but himalayas are much more than that. I have no words to describe what i saw and felt. But, it could be a little tough if you are not an experienced high altitude trekker, but still manageable.I myselves wasn’t experienced and wasn’t prepared at all, but i did it.I had no plans how to go there and what to do.A casual trip to rishikesh took me all the way up. If you plan to go there, practice cardio exercises and lots of walking.Go there prepared with all the clothing and accesories. It could be peak summer with 40+ temperatures in india but you will experience sub zero temperatures there.I am going there again this summer to finish the one dham left and may be go to all of them.Trust me its worth.

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