Delhi had a tremor in Sep last week and had another one today. People got something to gossip and tweet about.
Today's earthquake measured 5.2 on the Richter Scale and lasted a few seconds but was enough to get people to run out of their offices. For my part, I did not even feel it and was oblivious to it until I got asked by someone. Thats when I got to know about the quake and checked out the news channels - including facebook and twitter.
This was a small quake.
I am scared if a big quake came.
For comparison, the Latur Earthquake in 1993 was 6.2 , and the more recent Haiti earthquake was 7.
Delhi falls in Zone IV. If , Delhi was to ever get a high intensity earthquake which lasted more than a few seconds, the city is going to see massive destruction. Most of the city is made up of shanties with no proper planning going into making of houses. People point at Old Delhi and say it will collapse, I think most of the modern Delhi will also collapse.
The picture I see in my mind is quite grim.
- Most of the water piping is old piping. It does not need an earthquake to break those pipes and every few months we see news reports of a broken pipe flooding a road in some part of Delhi. These will all happen on the same day. The basic necessity of life will not be available.
- Electricity will be the other big hit. People in many parts of the city steal electricity by hooking the overhead lines. Just raise your head above the streetline in any congested locality and you can see the messy mesh of wires. Sparking will cause massive blackouts and fires in most parts of the city.
- Houses constructed dont follow the guidelines laid down for earthquake safety. In Many places you have a large area of slums. These will all collapse.
At all this, there is hardly any disaster plan in place. Delhi had a mock earthquake drill a few weeks back - but that assumes that people in Delhi will help out the people in Delhi. There is no plan for getting aid from other parts of the country into Delhi.
All in all, if this becomes a reality - we are in Deep Shit.