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IIT report warned of ‘extensive damage’

The report was the result of a “reconnaissance study”,conducted immediately after an earthquake in Sikkim on February 14,2006.

Written by Mihika Basu | Mumbai |
September 21, 2011 2:48:10 am

A 2006 report by the National Information Centre of Earthquake Engineering (NICEE) at the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur had concluded that there was consensus in the scientific world that Sikkim and its adjoining areas are likely to witness major earthquakes and that this,combined with the poor construction practices prevalent in the area,spells tremendous risk for the population.

The report was the result of a “reconnaissance study”,conducted immediately after an earthquake in Sikkim on February 14,2006. The objective of the study was to document perishable information and collect on-site data on the behaviour of buildings and structures in Sikkim under the impact of the earthquake.

“Everyday,more and more unsafe buildings are being added to the already existing huge stock of such buildings. Clearly,the time to act is now and the February 2006 earthquake should be treated as a wake-up call,as a not-to-be-missed opportunity to equip the state in seismically safe practices at a holistic level,” the report said.

The team said the 2006 quake measuring 5.7 on the Richter Scale caused damage to heritage structures as well as modern buildings.

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“The damage seen in and around Gangtok was clearly disproportionate to the size of the earthquake,which was moderate…This clearly establishes the high level of seismic vulnerability of the region. Such disproportionate damage is a direct consequence of poor design and construction practices in an inadequate professional environment that is challenged by the lack of trained human resources in the state,” it said.

“Therefore,there is a possibility of widespread damages in Sikkim during another mega-event in the seismic gap regions near Sikkim.”

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