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Earthquake In China

1. Major Earthquake Kills Over 50,000 in China's Sichuan Province:
A major earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale struck China on May 12, 2008 killing more than 50,000 people and injuring more than 2,47,000. The epicentre of the quake was about 100 km from Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province. The earthquake was so strong that its seismic waves travelled around the globe twice, according to a Japanese observatory. India's National Geophysical Research Institution (NGRI) also recorded the southwest China earthquake.
2. Earthquake Occurred at a Place Where the Indian Plate Collides with the Asian Plate:
The earthquake in southwest China measured 10 kilometres in depth. Eight aftershocks with magnitudes varying between 5 and 6 on the Richter scale were felt in the same region within a span of two hours after the original tremor. According to NGRI scientists, the earthquake occurred at a place where the Indian Plate collides with the Asian Plate. An earthquake of this magnitude had hardly been recorded after 1981.
3. Quick and Efficient Response from the Chinese Government:
The Chinese Government launched a massive rescue and relief operation within hours after the occurrence of the earthquake. Thousands of trained rescue and relief workers, paratroopers, health personnel, engineers, and communication technicians were mobilised. The President and the Prime Minister also visited the affected area.
4. Struggle to Find Shelter for the 5 Million Displace People:
China stated that it was struggling to find shelter for many of the 5 million people whose homes were destroyed in the earthquake. The Government was setting up temporary housing for quake victims but there was an urgent need for tents to accommodate them, according to the Chinese Vice Minister for Civil Affairs Jiang Li.
5. China Open to Receiving Relief Material from the International Community:
China was open to receiving relief material from the international community. It requested the international community to offer tents among other relief donations to survivors in the quake-hit Sichaun. This was in sharp contrast to Myanmar which had initially refused aid from other nations after being ravaged by a cyclone in May 2008.
6. China Welcomed India's Aid:
India offered $5million in aid to China which was welcomed by China. On May 17, 2008 India began delivering the aid which included medicines and sleeping bags. China allowed relief specialists from other countries including Japan, Russia, South Korea and Singapore.

IV.Preventive Measures to be Adopted to Minimise Damage:

1. Deployment of Early Warning Systems:
Seismologists suggest that there is an urgent need for deployment of at least 100 digital accelographs in the North and North-Eastern States to ensure an early warning system. The accelographs need to be placed at various places in the Himalayan belt and networked with early warning systems installed in high-rise buildings.
2. Network of Seismological Observatories:
Seismologists feel that the Government of India should take urgent steps to monitor
earthquake-prone areas. A network of seismological observatories from Assam to Bay of Cambay in Gujarat has been suggested by experts. The Survey of India (SOI) has mooted a network of 300 permanent Geographical Positioning System (GPS) stations all over the country to monitor earth movements round-the clock, which will help predict earthquakes.
3.Earthquake Proof Construction:
The Bureau of Indian Standards has laid down the various precautionary measures to be followed at the time of construction of houses and other buildings to make them quake-proof. The standards varied according to the susceptibility of a region.
4.Avoidance of High-Risk Industries:
Construction of high dams, nuclear power stations and other high-risk industries should be avoided in earthquake-prone areas, according to experts.
5. Seismic Microzonation of Cities:
Seismic experts suggest that seismic microzonation of cities could provide a way for computing future risks and to chalk out a prudent action plan. The seismic micorzonation of cities would indicate where to build, how to design, and a how to protect weak existing structures. This kind of risk mapping will help in technologically preparing the cities to face earthquakes.
6.Instructions to People:
Experts feel that in earthquake prone areas people should be given instructions about how they should behave when a quake strikes. These instructions should be region-specific.
7.Local Rescue Arrangements:
At the local level, arrangements should exist for rescuing persons trapped under rubble. This is important because the critical period for saving trapped people is less than 48 hours.
8.Observing Abnormal Activity:
Common people can observe any abnormal activity like: a) sudden changes in the water level in a well or occurrence of a fresh water springs on the ground, b) periodic and repeated disturbances, in audio, visual and spectral reception of television programmes and c) abnormal behaviour of animals.
9. Disaster Management Cells at all Levels:
The Police and Panchayat Raj institutions should be involved by giving them more
responsibilities. Disaster management cells should be opened at all levels.
10. Coordination Among all Agencies:
Finally, there should be complete coordination agencies looking after the disaster management, namely, the administration, NGOs, media, etc



Published date : 02 Oct 2009 04:28PM

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