Jammu and Kashmir is prone to disasters. All districts of Kashmir and Doda district of Jammu region fall in Seismic Zone-V, and the rest of the districts fall in Seismic Zone-IV.
The time of occurrence of a big earthquake cannot be predicted accurately with existing technology but augmenting the Seismological Network can help in the detection of smaller ones in selected locations.
As per official figures, over 150 earthquakes hit J&K during the past 10 years. The reasons for the earthquake are many, including various faults that run through J&K. The government has taken a serious note of J&K being prone to disasters and it’s taking multiple steps to ensure that in case of any eventuality no major damage is caused.
Most earthquakes that hit J&K had their origin in the Hindukush region of Afghanistan. The aftershocks of big earthquakes are less than 4 magnitudes.
Srinagar has many areas, which are very susceptible to natural calamities like earthquakes, landslides, and erosion. Most parts of Kashmir covering the districts of Srinagar, Ganderbal, Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora, Budgam, Anantnag and parts of Jammu region, Doda, Ramban, Kishtwar come under Seismic Zone- V and are prone to earthquakes.
The government is mulling to conduct a safety audit of old structures and check if they can resist disasters like earthquakes. The proposal has been moved to involve the Geology and Mining Department to identify vulnerable areas.
Frequent earthquakes have proved that people and the government should be well prepared in dealing with such incidents. Some measures like building earthquake resistant constructions are the need of the hour.
Some experts have predicted a big quake while a bunch of others are of the opinion that a jolt, much less that of high intensity, was hard to predict. While these reports surely create panic, the seismic vulnerability of this party in the region is well known.
There is an urgent need of finding new, smarter, and more effective ways of managing disasters. There is thus a need to lay a greater focus on building capacity to assess and reduce the risks of a disaster, than just deploying resources on post-disaster relief and rehabilitation.