Learning to live with an earthquake

Learning to live with an earthquake

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Karim Muhammad Khan

We are living on the planet earth that is restless in nature due to its interior structure like movement of plate tectonics and volcanic eruption. Scientists are of the opinion that the crust of the earth consists of seven larger broken pieces called plate tectonics. These plates are in constant movements owing to float on molten rocks. The areas where two or more than two plates meet are known as fault lines while the point where two plates collide each other is named as focus. The place over the focus is known as epicenter where the surface shakes the most and causes huge destruction such as the epicenter of 2005 earth quake was in Muzfarabad Khashmir.

Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Nepal and China are located on the fault lines of Indian and Eurasian plates and according to American Geological Survey the Indian plates move towards Eurasian plates at a speed of 37 mm annually.

Pakistan has experienced many devastating earth quakes in the past like 1935 of Quetta earth quake, of 2005 earth quake in AJK and KPK and the earth quake of 26th October 2015 in upper part of the country. Consequently, thousands of precious lives were lost, innumerable were injured, millions of people left homeless, buildings turned into rubbles, roads and other infrastructures were damaged.  Among them, 2005 earth quake proved to be the most destructive as it claimed more than 73000 lives and destroyed billions worth infrastructures in the country. According to scientists that it is difficult to predict the time of earth quake but it is definite that our country lies on fault lines where the earth quake occurs at any time.

There is no option to avoid earth quake but to learn how to face such calamity and minimize causality and damage of property. To prepare well certain steps need to be followed. First of all, proper building code has to be taken into account before construction like ensuring standard materials in the process of construction as earth quake doesn’t kill people what kills them is unsafe and vulnerable buildings. In this regard, the construction of educational buildings, hospitals and places of warship where chances of huge loss of lives are high need to be seismic proof.

Next, mass awareness programmes should be conducted at every nuke and corner of the country by experts, geologists and media. To access easily in remote and vulnerable districts and tehsils sub-disaster management authorities should be formed under the supervision of NDMA and PDMA. To assist the government, disaster management committee is to be constituted in every village and different national and international NGOs should also be authorized and mobilized. Further, they need to be fully equipped with all the necessary skills, equipments and other resources in order to better prepare for awareness, rescue, relief and rehabilitation work.

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