Tremors from the Indonesian quake on Wednesday afternoon were felt in Nepal. It lasted for about 8 seconds, prompting Kathmandu denizens to frantically call their homes and their villages.
Indonesian earthquake was measured 8.7 in Richter scale with epicenter at Sumatra. “Had it occurred in our country or near the country, it would have created havoc here,” says Deb Kumar Maharjan, a structural engineer at National Society for Earthquake Technology Nepal (NSET).
The quake intensity decreases as the distance from its epicenter increases. Nepal is 3,712 km away from Sumatra and it is highly unlikely to cause any damage. “What matters the most is the physical structure we have, not the intensity,” he says.
Nepal frighteningly lacks earthquake preparedness. City buildings are old and congested. They are not earthquake resistant. The government introduced the building code but it has hardly implemented.
The situation of village is naturally worse. A 6.8 magnitude earthquake that occurred in Nepal India border last September had destroyed about 1,000 houses in Taplejung and Utter Pradesh. “People still take it lightly. We better learn lesson from the past,” Maharjan said.
Nepal has witnessed devastating earthquake in the past. The earthquake of 1933 of 8.3 in Richter scale is the most powerful earthquake ever took place in Nepal. Second damaging earthquake measuring 6.6 in Richter scale occurred in Nepal with its epicenter in Udaypur in 1988 that had left 722 dead, 12,000 injured and destroyed physical structure worth million rupees.
Nepal is in seismic zone. According to the National Seismological Centre a 4.3 magnitude earthquake was measured at 8.37 am this morning with epicenter at Ghatal village in the border of Bajhang and Bajura districts. The centre has measured five minor earthquakes in four months beginning this year. “We can’t predict earthquake. Who knows when and how big quake is due to occur here?” says Umesh Prasad Gautam at the NSC
Disastrous response, ANURAG ACHARYA in TAPLEJUNG, #580
The people of eastern Nepal cope with the aftermath of the earthquake
Not if, but when, KUNDA DIXIT, #536
Ask not what your government can do for you in an earthquake, ask what you can do for yourself