Something we all can do besides compassion and humanity for the present disaster (the Pakistan earthquake near Islamabad in Hindu Kush Mountains a few hours ago with over 18,000 casualties) is to donate International Federation of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent or Oxfam or your preferred charity but let us....
... also use this tragedy to remind people that one of the biggest disasters waiting to happen are giant earthquakes within Himalayas, especially the shallow thrust earthquakes with magnitude 8 or more like the one today. The extent of disaster will always get more exacerbated by extremely dense population in the region compared to many parts of the world. Historically, the Himalayan region has not seen big earthquakes recently and the strain has been building up. Please - it is not an Indian or Pakistani problem only. It involves Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan all of them together - something beyond political boundaries. Same awareness should be raised in other South Asian countries besides India. Quote from Science article by Bilham, Gaur, and Molnar in 2001.
If you live in India, please pester your elected officials for long-term earthquake risk mitigation policies. What good are those young, metrosexual, urbane politicians that are featured on India Today almost every month? Another idea mooted on Sepia Mutiny was that to begin with Multinational Companies demand that their buildings be highly earthquake damage prone as a starting point. If you felt or not even felt an earthquake event, contact Stacey Martin who is building a comprehensive earthquake database for South Asia. Intensity maps are very important for understanding earthquake risks, prevent future damages, and public policy. So if you live in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Nepal, and Afghanistan, please visit his website ASAP to fill out his questionnaire. You help build intensity maps not some nerd scientists only. That is the first step in quest for better preparing South Asia for future earthquakes, along with the strict implementation of building codes. There is an old adage "Earthquakes do not kill, buildings do". One has to begin with understanding the seismicity, nature of strong motion in the South Asian region, and then accordingly even update to newer building codes.
If you live in US, MacArthur Genius Award winner/ fellow Brian Tucker has spent fair amount of time in Nepal and India trying to make schools earthquake resistant and is closely working with Indian NGOs like SEEDS. Please support them as school children are most vulnerable during earthquakes. Perhaps, businesses with interest in South Asia could support organizations like GeoHazards International and SEEDS financially as an outreach. Another organization doing similar work, and also experience both in Indian and Pakistan Himalayas but with slightly different mitigation approach is Earth Consultants International.
PPerhaps, businesses with interest in South Asia could support organizations like GeoHazards International and SEEDS financially as an outreach.eople like Roger Bilham from UC, Boulder, amongst other scientists including from India and to lesser degree I have been making noise for a while. Emergency numbers for earthquake information announced on Pakistan Television are: +92-51-921 3891 and +92-51-922 2666. The Indian Home Ministry's Crisis Management Center Control Room phone number is +91-11-2309 3563.
Do something for the present calamity and the future ones too - Do it. Learning from a disaster and acting upon is the only dignified and real way to pay homage.
Please also visit South Asia Quake Help.
I am humbly begging Pakistanis, Pakistani expats, and well-wishers to put pressure on Pakistani Government to accept India's offer for help. This is a humanitarian crisis. As, we all share a common enemy.
Lives can still be saved. Forget politics. Act now, brother. Before it is too late.
Quote from New York Times:
Great earthquakes - magnitude 8 or larger - occurred in the Himalayas in 1803, 1833, 1897, 1905, 1934 and 1950. But in the last half century, the region has been relatively quiet, with no earthquakes anywhere near the one with a magnitude of 7.6 that struck northern Pakistan on Saturday.
That calm may have given a false sense of security to growing populations living there."Those of us in the business knew we were overdue," said Peter Molnar, a professor of geological sciences at the University of Colorado [Continue].
Let the people of South Asia first be made aware of the dangers and challenges, and only then one act with in-depth contingency and plan.
Pakistan to accept quake relief from India. Why not accept India's offer for helicopters and joint rescue operations? Please save lives soon.
Even the Kashmiri leaders are speaking out [From Christian Science Monitor]
"Calamities don't recognize borders," said Mirwaiz Farooq in a Monitor interview. "These are man-made borders." He also called on Indian troops to move to offer relief aid on the Pakistani side of the border, where destruction is much worse, and people are in dire need of relief supplies.
Abdul Majid Mallick, president of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation League in Mirpur on the Pakistani side of Kashmir, says that this is a golden opportunity to cooperate. There are areas in Pakistani Kashmir that are blocked and can be easily accessed from the Indian side of Kashmir, he said. "If both India and Pakistan jointly hold rescue operations, so much more can be done to save lives in Azaad Kashmir," he said, using the Pakistani name for the province. Azaad means "free" in Urdu. [Continue]
From "The Independent", about lasting reapproachment occurring in the midst of tragedies.
"Greece and Turkey engaged in "earthquake diplomacy," creating a lasting improvement in relations, after 17,000 people died in the 1999 Turkish earthquake [Continue]. "
Why even study earthquakes in Himalayas?
Nature puts it succintly:
Perhaps the Himalayas deserve a little more of that." [Link]