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Earthquake in Delhi/NCR: If a big earthquake hits, is Delhi prepared?

Earthquake in Delhi/ NCR: Take a look at the list of most earthquake-prone areas in New Delhi


Earthquake in Delhi: Strong tremors were felt in Delhi on  November 9, 2022 at 1:57 AM IST, after an earthquake of 6.3 magnitude hit Nepal. Ever since the tremors were felt in Delhi, netizens have been  posting hilarious memes on the internet. But is it really funny? What if a big earthquake hits Delhi? Are we prepared? What is required, and how much worse could it be?

According to experts, Delhi is more prone to earthquakes as it lies in the high-risk seismic zone. The high density of population and multiple buildings in Gurugram make the Delhi-NCR region even more risky. Experts believe that a small magnitude might indicate a bigger earthquake. Well, earthquakes can happen anytime, without notice, and experts cannot predict when they will happen.  But consistent seismic activity in Delhi can be concerning.

Let us take a look at the data:

The capital city last faced seismic activity with an epicenter in the city itself around 295 years back. New Delhi has felt tremors and even faced damage when earthquakes of high magnitude hit neighbouring areas of the Himalayan region. Notably, the highest earthquake magnitude experienced in Delhi was on July 27, 1960. It registered 5.6 on the Richter scale.

New Delhi comes under Zone IV of the seismic map of India. The National Centre for Seismology suggests that Zone IV has a high probability of earthquakes that can be devastating.

Which areas in Delhi NCR are more at high risk?

During a high magnitude earthquake, places along the Yamuna will be amongst the most vulnerable. A report of the Ministry of Earth Sciences ‘seismic hazard microzonation of Delhi suggests that Lutyens Zone, including the Parliament, several central ministries and VIP residential buildings fall under the ‘high risk’ zones. But because of the density of population, these places are not as vulnerable as the areas along the Yamuna. AIIMS, JNU, Naraina and Chhatarpur come under the safest areas while high-risk zones are mostly in patches of the eastern, northern and central part of New Delhi.

Hauz Khas and Vasant Kunj area in New Delhi falls under ‘hazard zone’. North Campus of Delhi University, Gita Colony, Sarita Vihar, Rohini, Jahangirpuri, Paschim Vihar, Shakarpur, Wazirabad, Rithala, Karol Bagh, Rohini, Janakpuri and Bawana come under the ‘high hazard zone’. IGI airport, Najafgarh and Burari fall under the second worst ‘high risk’ zone category.

Gurugram is more vulnerable than Delhi

Gurugram, part of Delhi NCR region sits on seven fault lines which makes it the most-riskiest area of the Delhi NCR region. If any of these seven fault lines becomes active,  it can cause an earthquake with a magnitude of up to 7.5 on the Richter scale.  The 1960 earthquake along the Delhi-Gurgaon border of 6.2 magnitude almost damaged 200 structures, killed & injured several individuals. That time, Gurugram was just a village, today it is densely populated with many tall buildings. If an earthquake of the same magnitude occurs today, it will cause way more devastation.

Is Delhi prepared for a big earthquake?

Earthquakes come without any warning and we need to prepare ourselves before something big happens. Experts believe that Delhi is not prepared for a massive earthquake. According to a report, 90 percent of the buildings in Delhi do not meet seismic zone IV preparedness recommendations. Fitting residential with earthquake –resistant attachments is quite expensive. It is not feasible, a lot of people belong to weaker economic sections and many do not even want to spend on it.

According to a report, densely populated areas of East Delhi could be the epicenters of a strong disturbance. The Municipal Corporation Department has issued some guidelines so that low elements can be used in the construction. It will help the buildings to withstand a massive earthquake.

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Parul Srivastava

She likes to express herself through her write-ups. She doesn’t believe in doing different things but she enjoy doing things differently.
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