ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Disaster Management : Mostly Non-existent

Mostly Non-existent A correspondent writes: E arly this week, light sleepers in Mumbai were woken up by an earth tremor: beds rocked, glass panes rattled and tables moved. The afternoon newspapers confirmed that an earthquake measuring 5 on the Richter scale had been recorded with its epicentre at Warna in Satara district, hundreds of kilometres from the metropolis. Relieved Mumbaikars went home to sit back and watch people win good-size nest eggs on Star TV. Unsurprising though this was the complaisance of those who should be concerned about the consequences of such tremors is rather worrisome. It seems to point to a continuing lack of preparedness for coping with natural disasters. The earthquake

Early this week, light sleepers in Mumbai were woken up by an earth tremor: beds rocked, glass panes rattled and tables moved. The afternoon newspapers confirmed that an earthquake measuring 5 on the Richter scale had been recorded with its epicentre at Warna in Satara district, hundreds of kilometres from the metropolis. Relieved Mumbaikars went home to sit back and watch people win good-size nest eggs on Star TV. Unsurprising though this was the complaisance of those who should be concerned about the consequences of such tremors is rather worrisome. It seems to point to a continuing lack of preparedness for coping with natural disasters.

The earthquake's epicentre is near the Koyna dam, a reason of seismic activity that has seen a major quake in the 1960s. While tremors, say spokespersons of the metereological department, are common enough in the region, this recent one, 5 on the Richter scale is generally termed 'moderate' is unusual. So what has been the departmental response? Nothing. For after all the department, whose core activity is of a scientific institution, of measuring, monitoring and analysing is not charged with the responsibility of initiating any preparedness exercises. This nonchalance acquires hues of dereliction of duty when you consider that this is not a first such event in recent times. Over the last 15 years several tremors of moderate intensity have been duly recorded. A recent study conducted by scientists at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, and the Indian Institute of Geo Magnetism reportedly points to fault lines, and hence seismic zones, quite close to the city. While these findings are no doubt under discussion, as would be any scientific study, everyone agrees that major transitions are occurring on tectonic plates necessitating a constant monitoring of fault lines which has not been systematically instituted.

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