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Natural Disasters IN INDIA P. 4




In simple words sudden shaking or trembling of the earthsurface is an earthquake.
Most earthquake are a minor tremor. Larger earthquakes usually begin with slight
tremors but suddenly they turn into violent shocks and after that the intencity of
shocks deminishes. Tremors or shocks are felt for a few seconds only.
Earthquake is a hazard that strikes suddenly. A hindi poet described the earthquake
in these word. “Earthquakes strikes without pre information but the breathing
stops without informing the man.”


Earthquake can occur at any time of the year, day or night. There are no warning signs of earthquakes. Extensive and sincere research
has been conducted but success has eluded humans in the forcast or prediction
of earthquake.

High risk earthquake prone areas: Bureau of Indian Standard has prepared a map of India, showing earthquake seisnic zones of different intensity. Its revised
edition has been published in 2002. India has been divided into four zones.
The intensity of each zone, result and losses caused by earthquake are described
below:

Zone II - The earthquake is felt by all, some people run outdoor. Heavy furniture
may possibly move a little small pieces of plaster fall. Cracks in chimneys.

Zone III - Everyone runs out of doors, slight damage is there even in better
designed and strongly built building. More breakage in ordinary bridges houses
etc. Considerable damage to poorly designed and sub-standard buildings bridges
etc.

Zone IV - Slight damage in specially designed and well built building bridges etc.
Heavy damage to poorly designed and badly built structures. Chimneys, poles,
memorials, walls etc. fall down.

Zone V - Severe damage to even well built bridges, buildings, foundations are
displaced. Cracks and fissures develop in the ground. Practically all structures fall
or small are greatly damaged or destroyed.


Delhi and Mumbai are situated in high risk zone no. IV. The whole of North East
India, Kachchh, Gujrat, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir
are in the very high risk zone no. V. Now peninsular plateau is not safe from
earthquakes. Earthquake of Latur (1993, intensity on rich for scale 6.4) and Koyna
(1967 intensity 6.5) in Maharashtra testify it.

Impact of Earthquake

(i) Damage of property : when earthquake occurs, all buildings from cottage
to palaces and stronger skyscrapers are greatly damaged or totally destroyed.
Underground pipelines and railway lines are damaged or broken. Dams on
river collapse, resultant floods cause havoc. The earthquake in 1967 in Koyna
damaged the Dam.

(ii) Human loss - Duration of tremors of earthquake is normally of only few
seconds, but thousands of people may die in this short period. Five severely
devastating earthquakes have occurred in India between 1988 and January
26, 2001. Nearly 31000 people lost their lives prematurely. Bihar earthquake
of 1934 and Kangra earthquake of 1905, 10,000 and 20,000 people
died respectively. Numerous people lost their shelter and many became orphans.
The earthquake that occurred in Gujarat on 26 January, 2001 was
devastating and disastrous. More than 25,000 people died due to the impact
of this earthquake. The destruction of property was tremendous and could
not be estimated properly and exactly.

(iii) Changes in river courses: Sometimes river channels are blocked or their
courses are changed due to the impact of earthquake.


(iv) Tsunamis : are caused by earthquake. This is a Japanese word, meaning
extremely high sea wave. It wreaks havoc on settlement of coastal areas. It
sinks large ships. Tsunami that occurred on 26-12-2004 near coast of Sumatra
(Indonesia) property worth billions of rupee. More than two lakh people lost
their lives in Southeast Asia, India and Sri Lanka.

(v) Fountains of mud : Due to the intense impact of earthquake hotwater and
mud appear on the surface and take a form of fountains. In Bihar earthquake
of 1934 some cracks and fissures had developed. The fields of farmer were
covered by knee-deep mud and the crops were destroyed.

(vi) Cracks and fissures : Sometimes cracks and fissures develop in roads
railway tracks, and fields, making them useless. Well known san Andreas
fault formed during the earthquake of San Fransisco (California).

(vii) Landslides and avalanches are triggered
Some Do’s and Don’t during and after the earthquake:

Inside the house

 Don’t run outside, set your family into-doorways, under table or if they are
bedridden, more them under the beds; keep away from windows and chimneys.

Outside the house

 Don’t go near the buildings, high walls, or electric wires.

While driving

If an earthquake occurs stop driving and keep sitting in the vehicle.
To be done immediately
(i) Put off domestic fire, and all electrical switches.
(ii) Leave the house if possible and go to open space.
(iii) Leave the house if a gas leak is detected after the gas is turned off.
(iv) Save water
(v) Untie and free pets and domestic animals (dogs, cats and cattles)


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