Nepal and Bihar (particularly Mithilanchal) share common geographical location, culture and to some extent history too (particularly the eastern Tarai region of Nepal). Till Sugauli agreement between India & Nepal in 1816, Eastern Tarai of Nepal was part of the Mithila territory having capital at Janakpur, now in Nepal.
We have also shared a grief of flood, drought & earthquake like the natural disaster. The rivers like Koshi, Kamla-Balan, Gandak, Baghmati etc. all originates from Himalaya & flows through Nepal & North Bihar. Catchment area of all these rivers constitutes Nepal region which causes flood in North Bihar, resultantly vast loss of lives & property every year.
In fact, Nepal is the natural allies of India. India all along helped Nepal with all its resources both in peace & turmoil, natural disaster, Infrastructure development ,with great respect of its sovereignty, even though Nepal time to time has shown coldness in relationship & even inclination towards China particularly after evolution of left in Nepal politics since 2008.
This time also India sent the rescue team with relief materials within four hours of tremor which shook on 25th & subsequently on 26th too, caused huge loss of life & property. India stands with all means in its armour.
Nepal, which sits on the boundary of the Indian subcontinent and the Eurasian tectonic plate, has a long history of earthquakes.
Jan. 15, 1934 – One of the most devastating earthquakes in Nepal’s history, known as the Bihar-Nepal earthquake, killed more than 16,000 people from Nepal and India. 8.0 magnitude of earth quake’s epicentre was in eastern Nepal 6 miles away from Mount Everest.
July 29, 1980 – The 6.5-magnitude earthquake in the western region of Nepal killed more than a hundred people and destroyed thousands of buildings. The earthquake also caused a huge loss of livestock.
Aug. 20, 1988 – A 6.8-magnitude quake occurred near the Nepal-India border region. It killed more than a thousand people. Tremors were felt in large parts of northern India from New Delhi to the neighbouring border of Burma and in much of Bangladesh.
1993 – A mild earthquake was felt that mostly affected the central and western regions of Nepal killing one person.
1994 – An earthquake occurred in the mid-western region of Nepal and injured scores of people and destroyed more than 80,000 buildings. No loss of life was reported.
2001 to 2003 – Low-magnitude earthquakes hit the mountainous nation in 2001, leaving two dead; in 2002 a quake injured more than 50 people and in 2003, an earthquake left two people dead.
Sept. 18, 2011 – A deadly earthquake of 6.9 magnitudes killed 16 people in Nepal and India.
Latest earth quake’s epicentre lies in one of the world’s most active seismic zones, resulting from the collision of Indian & Eurasian tectonic plates, where a period of silence caused a big temblor as told by many geologists.
The earthquake measured a magnitude of 7.9 by the Indian Metrological Department. It is said that the energy released in this earthquake is equivalent to712 Hiroshima disaster bombs. Indian plate slips every year 45mm beneath the Eurasia plate, lifting the Himalayas & caused a release of vast pressure. As per US Geological survey said that during past century only four earthquakes occurred having a magnitude of 6 & more.
A long period of quiescence implies that plenty of accumulated strain was waiting for release. These release of huge pressure on 25th of April caused heavy loss of life & property in Nepal & Bihar. Geologists say earthquake cause a sudden subterranean shift in the positioning of continental plates, here Indian plate. The direction and magnitude of the energy released the seismic waves would determine the long-term impact in the region, they say.
Geologists worldwide would expect to collect the data of this earthquake and analyse it to determine the subterranean deformation or ruptures caused by the earthquake. Those figures can become guide factor.
India also needs to learn a lesson from this earthquake. In Bihar, more than 50 deaths have been reported besides loss of property which is yet to be assessed. Earthquake is natural phenomena secondly Indian plates are moving continuously towards Eurasian plate, we cannot escape from it. Scientists so far have not invented equipment’s to predict earthquake’s time. Like Japan we will have to equip earthquake resistance house, habits, & disaster management.
We have not much emphasised on earthquake resistance design of houses. Now onwards it must be adopted in the design itself. Secondly we do not have any monetary agency to monitor the construction of houses to insure its quality & proper implantation of design which needs to be formulated. Thirdly People should be educated as how to act during the occurrence of an earthquake. It has been noticed that even after evacuation of house people are standing just by the side of tall building which is even more vulnerable for loss of life.
Disaster management team has been confined to National capital & some metros only. Our in fracture of road & air are poor so in case of disaster team could not reach in time. Disaster management team should be developed at district & Panchayat level to extend help to the victims in time. India & Nepal should explore to convert this natural calamity as an opportunity to equip well for future.
By: Dr Dinesh Mishra