Earthquakes………..the topic that is mostly subjected to be concerned these days. The reason is the devastated earthquake in Nepal. Being a country in Indian sub continent, Sri Lanka also has to concern about this disaster.
The earthquake which had a magnitude of 7.8 of Richter scale, was occurred on 25th April in western Nepal. Kathmandu and Pokhara were the cities that were mostly affected. The epicenter of the earthquake was located in Gorkha district.After the main earthquake, several aftershocks were occurred. The rescue operations are still conducting with the aid of international community. Till 27th April, it was recorded that about 3617 people had died in Nepal and more than 6500 people had injured.And some deaths were recorded in nearby parts of India and China. And also, 17 climbers around mount Everest had died due to deadly avalanches resulted from the earthquake and about 200 were rescued. As the rescue operations are still functioning and they have not been able to reach some affected hilly areas, it is believed that the number of casualties will definitely increase more and more.
Nepal’s ancient monuments such as Dharahara tower, Durbar Square, 16th-Century Vatsala Durga and many ancient buildings have severly affected.Among them, there were some UNESCO world heritages. The damage of property and the expenditure for rehabilitations had not completely estimated yet, but it’s sure this is the biggest challenge to the economy of Nepal in last few decades.
DO YOU KNOW?
Nepal is a highly vulnerable country for earthquakes. Vulnerability means the conditions that increase the chance of potential harm.
In considering geological factors, the earth crust is consisted of large tectonic plates and they are constantly moving. Nepal straddles the fault line between Indian and Eurasian plates. The plates are being forced up against and under each other at a rate of about 5 cm each year. So, because of this reason, Nepal experiences earthquakes every 60-70 years. The last earthquake which had magnitude of 8.4, was occurred in 1934 and the shake that is felt is depend on the depth of the main event. In year 2015, it was 11km, a shallow one. So it caused a severe damage.
Another fact is, Kathmandu valley has a 300m deep layer of clay beneath it. When the vibrations of earthquake are generated, this solid ground turns into something like quicksand. This is called “soil liquefication”. As a result of this, buildings and roads are swallowed by the earth.
Avalanches, fires and landslides are side effects of earthquakes. Deforestation in steep slopes and the lack of proper management of land lead to landslides during earthquakes.
Nepal, being a developing country, has faced a lot of problems with disaster management due to poverty. They have not a proper preparedness, even the country has a possibility in occurrence of earthquakes. Kathmandu is a highly populated city with a population of 1 million, according to official records. But, according to unofficial records, it says the population of that city is 4-5 million. And the buildings are very close to each other. Most of them are built using unreinforced bricks. The newly constructed buildings are also not earthquake proof. In an earthquake, the most of the deaths happen due to collapse of structures and constructions. It has clearly proven in this case.