Valley prone to major earthquake, says expert

Kathmandu, October 30

An earthquake expert today alerted Kathmanduites of a possibility of a big quake.

The Kathmandu valley lies in an earthquake-prone area and therefore there is always a possibility of an earthquake bigger than yesterday’s, he said.

He told this daily that a qua-ke, measuring five magnitude in the Richter Scale, was just a minor one and that they cannot not rule out a more powerful shake. Ramesh Guragain, earthquake engineer and research director at the National Society for Earthquake Technology (NSET), said history has shown that there are major quakes in Nepal every 70 to 80 years. “It seems that the time for another major earthquake is drawing closer, but the date cannot be predicted, all we could do is follow necessary preventive measures.”

Scientists have still not been able to develop a technology to make short-term predictions on earthquake but long-term predictions can be made, Guragain said.

“It is less likely to have a big earthquake with its epicentre in Kathmandu but any earthquake with its epicentre, between Tarai and Chure area can cause significant damage,” he said.

Destruction by any earthquake depends on the intensity-effect of earthquake on ground level. A tremor as powerful as that of 1934 can result in as many as 40,000 deaths and render some 100,000 people homeless, he said. Earthquake itself is not a killer but a majority of deaths and destruction is caused by the collapsing of human-made structures.

“Destruction by tremors can be significantly reduced by following earthquake resistance technologies to construct buildings but less than ten per cent of the buildings in Kathmandu have been built employing earthquake- resistant technology,” he said.Instead of running away, one should protect one’s head and get under beds, tables, doors or stand at the corridors near the pillars if an earthquake occurs, he said.