Recovering from Earthquakes: Response, Reconstruction and Impact Mitigation in India
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Disasters in India: Policy overview of vulnerability, risks and human impact "Recovering from earthquakes: Response, Reconstruction and Impact Mitigation in India" ed.
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The Lancet, After a catastrophic tsunami killed nearly , people in Indonesia, is the country ready for the next one? More than a decade ago, one of the deadliest natural disasters in history killed , people in 14 countries around the Indian Ocean—nearly , of them in Indonesia. This morning's report of a 7. It began on the morning of December 26, about miles kilometers off the west coast of Sumatra, when a magnitude 9.
Within eight minutes the fracture spanned miles 1, kilometers , releasing 23, times more energy than the atomic bomb that destroyed Nagasaki, Japan. Parts of the seabed shifted 30 feet 9 meters to the west-southwest. But that was not the worst of it.
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Some segments of the fault also surged upward by tens of feet, and they lifted the whole column of seawater above them. At the sea surface, that set in motion a wave—a tsunami that traveled around the Indian Ocean. When it hit Sumatra, it was feet 30 meters high along parts of the northwest coast. Three months after the tsunami, the reconstruction of Banda Aceh had barely begin.
Here a man looks for scrap metal in the debris. When the next tsunami strikes the Indian Ocean—and scientists are certain that another large one is inevitable, probably within the next few decades—will the region fare any better?
Social Participation and Disaster Risk Reduction Behaviors in Tsunami Prone Areas
Hardest hit on that terrible day ten years ago was the Indonesian city of Banda Aceh , on Sumatra's northern tip. More than 60, of its , residents perished—about 35 percent of the total lost in Indonesia. Vivi Yanti, an English teacher in the city, remembers the water as being warm, black, oily, and filled with debris. In streets jammed with fleeing people, Yanti glimpsed a woman running, holding the hand of a little boy, banging on the windows of passing cars, begging for a ride.
No one stopped. I told my uncle, 'Drive faster. Ten years later Banda Aceh has been rebuilt, and its population has climbed back to ,, almost what it was before the disaster.
Aside from a number of immaculately groomed mass graves, and a few intentional reminders of the disaster—such as the presence of a large ship marooned in a city park—most signs of the tsunami's damage have been erased. Like other countries ravaged by the tsunami, Indonesia is now linked to a tsunami detection system in the Indian Ocean. Once an earthquake has occurred, that system of seafloor sensors and surface buoys relays signals via satellite to government warning centers around the world, alerting them that a tsunami might be on the way.
A decade ago such detectors existed only in the Pacific. Had they been deployed in the Indian Ocean in , some of the 51, people who died in Sri Lanka and India would have been spared: The tsunami took two hours to cross the Indian Ocean, and timely warnings—or any warning at all—would have saved thousands of lives.
But Indonesia— the fourth most populous country in the world —is in a less fortunate situation. It borders a number of dangerous seismic faults, especially a long, arcing one called the Sunda megathrust , which parallels the islands of Sumatra and Java.
The tsunami that began on that fault struck the Sumatran coast within 30 minutes of the earthquake. Even with a near instantaneous tsunami alert, many residents wouldn't have had enough time to reach high ground. Many locals attribute the survival of the Rahmatullah mosque, on the outskirts of Banda Aceh, to divine intervention—but the mosque's open ground floor may have helped, by allowing the tsunami to wash through.
Nine days after the disaster, a U. Marines helicopter delivers supplies.source
The Delhi Outcome on Earthquake Risk Reduction in EAS Member Countries
Faced with such an unforgiving margin between life and death, Indonesia has struggled to improve public awareness and preparedness. A handful of evacuation shelters—three- or four-story buildings, some of them with open ground floors to let the wave pass through—have been built in Banda Aceh and other threatened cities.
There's a network of sirens to warn residents that a tsunami is imminent. On April 11, , when a magnitude 8. The nation's early warning system worked perfectly, but the local response to the alert does not bode well for future disasters. Officials in Banda Aceh had failed to establish clear emergency guidelines for the city.