A big-scale earthquake is likely to hit Delhi NCR and the Himalayan regions at least once, and experts fear lack of preparation. Here are some safety and preventive measures that you can take. By Tanvi Jain

 

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Pandemic, cyclone Amphan in West Bengal, floods in the Northeast, at least 15 small and two big earthquakes in Delhi/NCR, between April and July — these unfortunate turn of events throughout the year have done nothing but cause loss to life and property. And, it doesn’t end here! Seismologists are worried about a big Himalayan earthquake overdue sometime soon or maybe in hundreds of years.    

The 2015 Himalayan earthquake of 7.8 magnitude that killed thousands of people in Nepal and even shifted Kathmandu south by 1.5 metres, is still not considered a big one, and seismologists fear something even worse especially for Delhi and Shimla due to their lack of preparedness. While the former is at a medium risk due to its ill-constructed buildings and proximity to the Himalayas, the latter being a Himalayan town itself is at a much higher risk. 

 

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So, what should you do if a calamity like this strikes anytime soon? 

To start with, the authorities need to first fix the existing buildings, by making them strong enough to handle something like this and also come up with safer designs for the new ones. Conducting mock drills and spreading awareness is another important safety measure.  

However, you can also take a few steps at an individual level, such as prepare emergency supply kits in advance comprising of essentials, food items, medicines, flashlight, etc. Furthermore, housing societies should have a common shelter area where its residents can assemble in an event of an earthquake. It’s very important to keep calm as panic creates chaos, stampede, and injuries. If you sense shaking while inside a property, duck, cover yourself, get under sturdy furniture, or else move toward an inside wall and sit with your back against it, and your knees touching your chest, also make sure to cover your head. 

 

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If you are outdoors, run towards an open area and stay away from buildings, bridges, electric poles, and overhead wires. If you are driving, stop immediately, stay as low as possible, and rush to an open area away from any establishments. If you are stuck under debris, don’t move or scream, instead, hit something so that the rescuers get a signal, and cover your face with a cloth so as to avoid dust from going inside your mouth. 

Apart from this, stock up enough supplies, don’t keep too heavy objects at too much height, help others after the earthquake, check for injuries on yourself, report immediately if you sense a gas leak, and turn off the regulator, etc

Predictions, warnings, no matter how many are made, won’t work if you are not prepared for a disaster. Authorities will do their bit in their own time, but it’s very important for you as an individual to be prepared for the worst, and ensure your safety first.

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