Managing earthquakes

Unfortunately, the earthquake has still proved to be a significant natural disaster and a national tragedy. But various methods can be used to reduce the impact of earthquakes.

By building new infrastructure away from earthquake prone areas, economical damages and number of deaths caused by earthquakes can be reduced. Authorities can implement guidelines on the location of new infrastructure and set limits on the heights of buildings. In developed countries authorities use earthquake risk maps to control land use so as to minimize damage that may be caused by earthquakes.

The control of land use is difficult in cities of developing countries where there is high rural urban migration and the country lacks resources to improve the situation. Poverty causes such migrants to construct their houses illegally on earthquake-prone zones, where they may suffer devastating effects of earthquakes. New infrastructure can be specially designed to withstand strong tremors by making use of the latest technology.

Government should also provide basic knowledge about what to do in case of an earthquake. Earthquake drills are conducted regularly in developed countries to educate and familiarise people on what to do in event of an earthquake.

Ten years before Pakistan was hit by a devastating earthquake, which killed over 80000 people. Although intensity of Monday’s earthquake was 8.1 on Richter scale, more than 2005 earthquake which was at a shallow depth of just 26 kilometres.

Depth also ensures severity of the shaking, Monday’s earthquake was very deep, which resulted less devastation comparing 2005- earthquake. The track record of the country’s various disaster management authorities unfortunately is not sterling and lessons from 2005 have still gone unlearnt, as their presence in most vulnerable small towns is minimal while even in major urban areas their efforts are lacking in efficacy and credibility.

Rescue operations are underway; we all must contribute to help the affected people.


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