Earthquakes have often been quoted as “nature unleashing its fury”. There have been plenty of speculations on how it is human influence that has led to the increasing frequency of natural disasters; how these natural disasters are nature’s way to reduce the increasing pressure of human population. It is indeed a great worry at our hands. The unrivalled dominance of the human species allows it to enjoy unparalleled arrogance. However, even though we might have twisted science to prolong life, we still have to bow before nature’s will. If the population keeps going at the current rate and people keep abusing earth’s resources, nature too will eventually have to resort to measures that will restore balance. The increasing frequency of natural disasters is proof of just that.
The Gauhati earthquake
The recent earthquake at Gauhati that was also felt in the nearby countries of Myanmar and Bhutan was yet another shock to human population.
Around 4:36 am on January 4th 2016, tremors were felt in the North Eastern wing of the country. The earthquake struck a high 6.7 on the Richter scale and lead to widespread devastation. The hour of the disaster was such that most were caught unawares, and hence it took them long to respond to the debacle happening around them.
Around 8 people were killed and approximately 100 people were injured. Many buildings collapsed, walls cracked, houses fell and much property was damaged.
The Indian Meteorological department deduced the epicentre to be in Tamenglong district, Manipur, around 35km from Imphal. As soon as news spread, social media was filled with tweets with prayers and sympathy for all those who suffered loss.
A huge team from the NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) team from Guwahati was deployed to the rescue the disaster-struck.
The Union Home Minister happened to be at Guwahati at the time and felt mild tremors during the episode. In a tweet by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, he said he had asked Rajnath Singh to oversee the situation.
The tremors are said to have been felt all through as far as up to Bihar. Reports predicted more earthquakes to follow over the next few days; however they would be of a relatively less magnitude.
History of Warnings
The continued series of tremors felt throughout North India since April 2015; the Nepal Earthquake in May; followed again by tremors being felt throughout North India in the following few months, the recent floods in Chennai all relay a very tumultuous future. India lies in a very sensitive area prone to disasters originating both from the Northern and the South-Eastern periphery of the country. The monsoons also cause great havoc in the Western border of the country.
What can be done?
In such situations, the infrastructure of the country needs to be in such a way that results in minimal loss of lives in a disaster condition. This however is not true in most of the places. Owing to the great population boom and growing urbanization people are planting houses anywhere they can find without much caution. Even when the Chennai floods hit, non-reflective architecture regarding the placement of important buildings near disaster prone sites had become a topic of debate. The result is, when a calamity strikes, it takes with it lives which could have been saved by proper planning. It is indeed a huge task for a grossly overpopulated country like India but infrastructure, rehabilitation facilities can be better worked upon while planning the city architecture. We do need to lay the foundation strong or else, soon picking up debris will become routine for many people.
It is said that we are currently paving our way for the 6th Mass extinction event on earth. Nature is under a lot of pressure and evolutionary history is proof that it will find a way to regenerate itself. We are merely the tenants… but if we keep dirtying the house too much, Mother Nature is going to eventually kick us out, and find new tenants to keep it going. The natural disasters are like the ‘one month’s notices’ that nature keeps ramming up against our doors. We need to save earth to really save ourselves….
Yes, a natural disaster is really quite unfortunate as it is really no one person’s fault which could have been avoided at the last minute. The disaster victims have to bear the brunt of the punishment for the cumulative actions of the entire human population over many years.
Small actions can have a large Butterfly effect on the future. I am not saying that earthquakes and floods will be totally eliminated but the lesser we mess with nature, the lesser pressure on earth preventing it to react in the form of frequent natural disasters. Let’s change our habits today so that there is a better chance for the future of the human species.[Image attribute: jtrujilloc0]