Delhi jolted again

Sep 19, 2011, 07:20 IST | Vatsala Shrangi

Successive earthquakes in two weeks have people living in old buildings and high-rises worried

Successive earthquakes in two weeks have people living in old buildings and high-rises worried

While the damage caused by the 6.8 magnitude earthquake in north-eastern India has been catastrophic, the tremors also sent shockwaves through residents of Delhi and NCR. Just a few days ago, the Capital had witnessed a shocking Wednesday (September 7), with a bomb blast earlier in the day and an earthquake late at night.

Loose foundation:  The always-crowded Sadar Bazar area, with scores
of dilapidated buildings, is among the listed danger zones if a major
earthquake were to strike the national capital. File Pic

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said Sunday's quake, of moderate intensity, had its epicentre at latitude 27.7 degrees North and longitude 88.2 degrees East on the Sikkim-Nepal border region. The tremors occurred at 6.11 pm at a focal depth of 10 km.

However, the IMD said, tremors here were just after-shocks of the earthquake experienced on the Sikkim-Nepal borders; yet they managed to scare Delhiites. Residents living in and near old buildings like those located in the Walled City area, Sadar, Paharganj, and high-rises in east Delhi and Dwarka felt shockwaves as the buildings are weak and many of them can crumble at the slightest pretext.

Tall order
"The tremors lasted a few seconds, but we could see things trembling and people rushing out to safety. The area we live in has multi-storey buildings based on foundations as old as 100 years. They can fall down at anytime. No one in the government or MCD is concerned about them," said Rajiv Sahai, a resident and shop owner in Sadar Bazar area.

Meanwhile, RS Dattatreya, Director, Deparment of Seismology, Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), said, "As for the tremors felt in the Capital, they were after-shocks of the quake in the Sikkim-Nepal border region. No conclusion can be drawn based on this fact for the future. This has been primarily due to disturbance in the seismically active belt of the Himalyan range, and is therefore, not an unusual event. The science of seismology has no clue on predicting future quakes or events like these whatsoever."  

In danger
AS per the Department of Delhi Disaster Management Authority, areas near Yamuna bank are very much prone to earthquakes. East Delhi is the most earthquake prone area. Some of these localities are: Shahdara, Mayur Vihar - I, II, III, Laxmi Nagar and nearby areas, Gurgaon and Noida. Delhi is in a high-risk seismic zone prone to earthquakes measuring 7-7.5 on the Richter scale.

Death, destruction, despair
The terrible earthquake at the India-Nepal border had claimed lives of nine people in Sikkim, three in West Bengal, two in Bihar, and injured hundreds, till the filing of reports. The number of casualties is likely to go up. Army and air force has been deployed for rescue work. The PM spoke to the Sikkim chief minister, offering all help. According to reports, some Indian Army bunkers in eastern Sikkim were also damaged, leaving many soldiers injured.

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