Sonowal looks to Japan for earthquake management inspiration

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20 aftershocks recorded ** Assessment finds damages in 428 residential houses/ apartments

HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, April 29: Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal reviewed the damages caused by the earthquake in the state in a meeting with the officials of the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) at his official residence on Thursday.

20 aftershocks of varying magnitudes from 2.3 to 4.7 in richter scale were also felt between 7:51 am of Wednesday to 6 pm Thursday having epicentres in 4 circle areas of Sonitpur, Nagaon and Morigaon districts.

Sonowal directed for collecting the data of tremors of different magnitudes occurring in the state since 1896 and examine the nature of their impact on the state to prepare an effective mitigation roadmap for the future.

Stressing on the importance of ensuring strict adherence to building by-laws and National Building Code by agencies like GMDA and PWD, Sonowal directed for setting up an expert committee for maintaining the earthquake resistant design (ERD) in construction of buildings in the state appropriate for seismic zone 5 that Assam falls into. He also directed for assessing the damage caused by the earthquake on the vulnerable buildings in the state and taking steps to strengthen the structures at the earliest.

On being informed about Japan’s success in developing an early warning system for earthquakes, Sonowal directed for exploring opportunities to tie-up with Japan in bringing such technologies to the state.

The chief minister also called for adopting an architectural style most suitable for high intensity seismic zones like Assam and making the people aware about the utmost importance of maintaining highest standards in construction of buildings to withstand high magnitude jolts.

Directing ASDMA to take up awareness campaigns at the school level and holding of regular mock drills there, the chief minister stressed on the importance of making children and general public aware about ways of coexisting with earthquakes.

Citing example of Japan in successful mitigation of earthquakes, Sonowal called for continuous efforts from all stakeholders for minimising damage caused by jolts and not look for stop-gap arrangements. He also directed for releasing ex-gratia to dead victims of earthquake at the earliest and take steps for free treatment of the injured.

Meanwhile, the ASDMA said in a statement here that the detailed damage assessment continued with support from agencies viz. DDMAs, PWD (Building), Fire & Emergency Services, NDRF, SDRF and experts from Assam Engineering College.

As per the reports received from the districts, total number of injured persons has gone up to 12, however, no casualties have been reported in the last 24 hours.

Damage Assessment has been completed in 18 districts so far.

428 residential houses/ apartments, 148 various private and public institutions like school, anganwadi centre, health centre, government buildings, namghar are reported to have been damaged in the earthquake.

These damages have been reported from Baksa, Biswanath, Bongaigaon, Darrang, Dibrugarh, Goalpara, Golaghat, Hojai, Jorhat, Kamrup (Metro), Karbi Anglong, Lakhimpur, Morigaon, Nagaon, Nalbari, Sivasagar, Sonitpur and Udalguri districts.

Other infrastructure damages include 1 embankment in Baksa district, 2 bridges in Nagaon district, APDCL infrastructures in Sonitpur, Udalguri and Hojai district.

Rapid Visual Screening and assessment is underway in Guwahati city led by Prof. Jayanta Pathak of Assam Engineering College. Such assessments have also been carried out by the team of trained engineers in other districts

Disaster management machinery of the state is alert to deal with any eventualities, the release added.


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