In several parts of the country and the globe, there have been a number of natural disasters recently. For example, the flashfloods in Sikkim wreaked havoc with many lives lost, hundreds of houses and roads washed away, and communication snapped. Also earthquakes were reported from various parts of the globe including Japan.
Around 18 years ago, Jammu and Kashmir had a massive earthquake as on 8 October 2005 7.6 jolt shook the region.
The massive jolt led to the loss of around 80,000 lives with Pakistan Administered Kashmir being the worst affected. On this side of the J&K, the quake caused devastation along with the frontier villages particularly Uri and Kupwara district. If anything, the recent quakes should be a warning about a possible repetition of the natural disaster in the region.
India has been divided into four zones viz. zone V, IV, III and II according to the seismic zoning map of India prepared by Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) based on historical seismicity and strong ground motions.
Out of these zones, Zone V exhibits the highest seismic risk and zone II has the least.
All districts of Kashmir valley and Doda district 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 even as the government of India revealed in parliament recently that it plans to strengthen the existing National Seismological Network with additional field stations. This will help in the detection of smaller earthquakes in selected locations.
Recently J&K witnessed many jolts and fortunately, there was no loss of life even as some houses developed cracks in some areas earlier this year. Nevertheless, it highlighted the need for preparedness on part of the government beforehand rather than managing its aftermath.
Given the high vulnerability, there is no ordinary escape for the region from susceptibility to earthquakes. However, the foreknowledge of potential danger areas can help mitigate the impact of a disaster. Keeping in view the preparations of the J&K, any jolt leads to more panic.
There is a need to accept earthquakes as a reality and do everything to redefine development plans, especially in terms of building quake-resistant buildings. There should be a systematic resort to disaster drills to educate the public on what to do during an earthquake. Preparedness remains the key to such disasters and as such it must be given priority.