About Earthquake

An Earthquake is a sudden event and gives hardly any time to react. Early warning or prediction of an earthquake is not easy. Preparing for an emergency situation in advance will save precious lives, infrastructures and facilities.    Death and destruction happen due to falling of buildings, infrastructure or other hanging / flying objects.

The protocol for Early warning and prediction of an earthquake is not presently available. India Meteorological Department (IMD) monitors seismic activity in and around the country. The IMD estimates the earthquake source parameters on the occurrence of earthquake and disseminates information to all the concerned agencies responsible for relief and rehabilitation measures. The SEOC will provide the information to the districts likely to be affected.    In Tamil Nadu, three seismological network stations are available and the details are as follows;

Locations of seismological monitoring centers

Location Code State Latitude (Deg:Min) Longitude (Deg:Min) Altitude above MSL
Chennai MDR Tamil Nadu 13:04.08N 80:14.78E 15
Kodaikanal KOD Tamil Nadu 10:14.00N 77:28.00E 2345
Salem SALM Tamil Nadu 11:39.00N 78:12.00E 278

The Anna University, Chennai also monitors seismological events from four different locations namely:

  • Ranipettai Engineering College, Wallajah
  • Bharathidasan Institute of Technology, Tiruppattur
  • Idhaya Engineeering College, Chinna Salem
  • Periyar Maniammai Engineering College, Hosur

Non-Disaster and Pre-Disaster

As there is no warning time for an earthquake and these two phases merge into one.

  • Precautionary steps in construction related activities are the only way to mitigating earthquake related disasters.
  • Vulnerability and Risk Assessment will need to be done in earthquake prone areas and accordingly zoned and the district administration made aware of the same. The vulnerability and risk assessment map should then be made available to DDMA / TNSDMA.
  •  Awareness is necessary among different stakeholders ranging from the communities involved, Builders, contractors, government officials and others.
  • The stability of existing buildings will need to be assessed.
  • Earthquake resistance features need to be promoted in such zones by the Town planning departments. Training sessions need to be organized for Builders, Contractors and Real Estate promoters until such a time that it has been fully assimilated in the community.
  • Building Technologies that have been successful in countries exposed to frequent earthquakes need to be promoted
  • A permanent exhibition center will need to be created in such zones to provide a model approach to construction that the average citizen can relate to. A model home – to indicate the style of construction at different stages – could also serve to bring greater awareness.
  • Large buildings such as Community halls, Marriage halls, Malls, Theatres and the like will need design compatibility with earthquake resistant structures.
  • Educational institutions for Architects, both public and private, will need to be directed to incorporate design elements of earthquake resistant technology into their syllabi.

During the Disaster

  • Occurrence of the earthquake will need to be disseminated in all available means and the DEOC shall take extra efforts to do so.
  • The only option in an event of an earthquake happening is to leave the building immediately and move into an open space where one does not have to be threatened by falling objects. This should be announced in the media by SEOC / DEOC .