Japan quake reminds us of India`s vulnerability: NDMA

While 38 cities in India fall in the moderate to high-risk seismic zones, the NDMA official said that the Japan catastrophe is a reminder of how vulnerable India is.

New Delhi: With Japan`s horror still
unfolding, National Disaster Management Authority says the
catastrophe is a reminder of how vulnerable India is and an
indication that "we still have miles to go" in making all
vulnerable structures earth quake resistant.

"In spite of Japan being highly equipped and fully
prepared, when the disaster struck them, the country was
devastated. It reminds us of our vulnerability. Disaster
management is not a one-day job. We have already done mistakes
in not closely monitoring our constructions in the past," a
senior official in NDMA said.

He said the US took almost 70 years to ensure that its
skyscrapers are made earthquake resistant. "We will take many
years. We still have miles to go," he said.

Since making all buildings earthquake resistant is a
state subject, NDMA has already written to almost all the
states to ensure safe construction as per disaster management
guidelines, "but no substantial response has been received."

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said the nuclear crisis
in Japan has underlined the need for revisiting strategies for
safety of atomic plants.

He told Parliament that he has already ordered a
"technical review" of all such installations to check if they
can withstand the impact of major natural disasters like
tsunami and earthquakes in the wake of the catastrophe in
Japan threatening a nuclear meltdown.

"The tragic nuclear incidents in Japan in the aftermath of
the recent earthquake and tsunami should make us revisit
strategies for nuclear safety, learning lessons from these
experiences," the Prime Minister said.

Singh said Indian nuclear plants have in the past met the
safety standards during the major natural calamities like
January 26, 2002 Gujarat earthquake and the December 2004

While 38 cities in India fall in the moderate to high-risk
seismic zones, the NDMA official said, "We need to take into
consideration structural safety, mitigation and preparedness
and immediate response. Lifeline buildings and telephone
booths need to be retrofitted and critical installations in
zone five areas should not be allowed."

When contacted, Director General of National Disaster
Response Force (NDRF), Rajiv said, "We have worked during the
earthquake in Bhuj. We may be sending a team to Japan. We are
prepared and our boys trained. We remain alert and our teams
reach where and when required."

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS),
the March 11 quake was the largest ever recorded in Japan and
is the world`s fifth largest earthquake to strike since 1900.


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