8 lakh people may die if earthquake of magnitude 8 hits India: NDMA

Greater Kashmir

New Delhi, Nov 14:  More than eight lakh people may die if an earthquake measuring 8 on the Richter scale occurs in the seismically-active Himalayan states from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh, National Disaster Management Authority’s (NDMA) Vice Chairman M Shashidhar Reddy today warned.
Inaugurating a stall on disaster management at India International Trade Fair in Delhi, Mr Reddy said people of Delhi, which has witnessed several low magnitude quakes in recent times, have to prepare for the natural disaster as it was difficult to predict when an earthquake would occur.
“We do not want to create panic but want to make people alert,” he told reporters.
No major earthquake has occurred in the Himalayan belt since 1950. Studies indicate that enough strains have accumulated to generate magnitude 8 or larger earthquakes in the Himalayan region.
“If an earthquake of magnitude 8 occurs in the Himalayan states, eight to nine lakh people may lose their lives,” the NDMA vice-chief said.
The entire Himalayan region is seismically very active and during a span of 53 years between 1897 and 1950, four major earthquakes, (Shillong -1897, Kangra -1905, Bihar-Nepal -1934 and Assam -1950) exceeding magnitude 8 on the Richter scale occurred in the region causing vast devastation.
Reddy said when and where such an earthquake would occur is not known and therefore, the best approach to face such an eventuality was to work for developing an earthquake-resilient society.
“The idea of putting up the stall at the trade fair is to make people understand the importance of preparedness for natural disaster. We are distributing handouts, showing live demonstrations and other activities which could save life,” he said.
The main attractions of the stall are different types of materials including information, education and communication materials and Do’s and Dont’s on various natural and human induced disasters, publications and Ludo game on Earthquake, which has been developed indigenously.
An Earthquake shake table model, various search and rescue equipment have also been demonstrated. A street play on disaster management will be performed from November 19 to create disaster awareness amongst communities.