On Friday night, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck Afghanistan. The quake struck the Hindu Kush mountain region merely two months after an earthquake caused massive destruction in Pakistan and Afghanistan in October 2015. Tremors of the quake were felt in India for about 20 to 30 seconds. Two months ago, similar tremors were distinctly felt for approximately 30-40 seconds, shaking high-rise buildings all across North India. Thousands had fled out of their houses and offices in Delhi and adjoining areas. As discussed in these columns earlier, it is bad news for India. For the benefit our readers, we shall reproduce some of the concerns that lie at the heart of this impending natural disaster.
According to a recent study, at least, 38 Indian cities lie in high-risk seismic zones and nearly 60 percent of the subcontinental landmass is vulnerable to earthquake. Barring rare exceptions, India’s hastily-built cities and public spaces are open and extremely vulnerable to great damage from earthquakes. In terms of per capita casualty risk, most of these cities rank amongst the highest in the world. The Supreme Court had also mandated that all five-storey buildings and above housing more than 100 people must have an engraved metal plate to ensure it is earthquake resistant. Experts warn that unless the National Building Code is strictly implemented, India could go the Nepal way if hit by a major earthquake any time soon.