A powerful earthquake rocked eastern India and Himalayan state Sikkim, which also bore the maximum brunt of the nature’s fury. As the epicentre was near Sikkim across its border in Nepal, the earthquake caused great havoc, shocks and fear among the affected people, who left their homes and came out in open for safety. Power supply, telephone and mobile connections were badly affected virtually for some time. Peril was at its highest point.
At least 50 people in Sunday's evening earthquake, including 23 in Sikkim, have been killed. It also triggered widespread landslides and road blockages making rescue work on Monday more difficult in the worst-hit Himalayan state.The overnight toll climbed to 50, with 23 people being killed in Sikkim, six in West Bengal, seven each in Bihar, Nepal and Tibet.
Over a hundred people have been injured in the quake which has left a trail of devastation in Sikkim, causing hindrances in relief work because of landslides and road blockades.
The Indian states which fall within the seismic zone are always most vulnerable to earthquake. It is known to the government. That is why Disaster Management team must be prepared in advance to face any eventuality very quickly. There may not be any prior indication of earthquake but enough research work has determined the areas under seismic zone. Meteriological department must also be equipped with the most advance equipment to assess the loss very quickly.
A few months back, earthquake of very high magnitude had rocked Japan causing great loss to life and property. It may be more vulnerable to earthquake than India but it is definitely under its danger always. It is God’s grace that we have not experienced the earthquake of that magnitude and intensity.
Earthquake is the worst kind of nature’s fury. We need to be prepared in advance to face the natural calamity of worst kind. To assess the loss of life and property immediately, we still not have the equipment, and are dependent on foreign countries. But we claim to have achieved tremendous scientific advancement. We also do not have quick response service mechanism.
The massive landslides due to earthquake and rains delayed the rescue team in reaching the badly affected areas in time. The landslides are normally caused by deforestation on massive scale for setting up of industries under economic reform policy. Setting up of industries is also a necessity but the loss caused to natural resources must be compensated in due course. Besides deforestation, there is cutting of trees and jungle on large scale that results in massive landslides. This must be stopped to lessen the intensity of pain caused by natural calamities.
The natural calamities catch unawares and unlike others earthquake gives no prior indication. Natural calamities like floods, cloud bursts and tsunami give enough time to take precautionary measures but the earthquake gives no time in advance to alert. As vast portion of India is in seismic zone, Government of India needs to establish a separate cell of disaster management for earthquake to deal with any disaster caused by it.