06 December, 2020

So That The Sky Won’t Fall

Our disaster preparedness is woeful. Japan is a warning.

Illustration by Sorit
So That The Sky Won’t Fall

On March 11, Japan’s north-eastern coastal area was struck by a devastating earthquake of magnitude 9, which triggered a powerful tsunami with 10-metre high waves. Ten thousand people are reported dead, 17,004 more are missing and economic losses are estimated to be a staggering $300 billion-plus. The crisis in the Fukushima-Daiichi N-reactors continues unabated, prompting evacuation of people from within 12 km of the plant because of radiation levels.

Even in the face of this calamity, Japan has coped rather well with the earthquake-related risks. This is because of the efficacy of its strict compliance regime on building codes and an efficient online early warning system, which minimised the damage to buildings and infrastructure and saved countless lives. Where does India stand in terms of preparedness?

The disaster management authorities, set up at state and district levels following the Indian Ocean tsunami, have done a substantial job but are finding progress agonisingly slow due to certain systemic weaknesses. To...



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