New Delhi, Oct. 1: Over six lakh people could die if an earthquake of the magnitude of the temblor that shook the Northeast in 1897 were to strike today, preliminary studies by the National Disaster Management Authority have shown.
The NDMA had undertaken a detailed “Multi-State Earthquake Scenario” project for a hypothetical earthquake of a magnitude of over 8 on the Richter scale occurring at Mandi in Himachal Pradesh. “The estimated toll in Mandi is two lakh people, according to the studies, while in the Northeast it could be six lakh… a large proportion… feared to be in Guwahati,” NDMA vice-chairperson Shashidhar Reddy said.
The gaps found during a mock drill in Chandigarh, to cover the Mandi quake, has prompted a study of how state and non-state agencies in the Northeast would respond in such a scenario. An NDMA internal paper said the impact could be damaging because of the “polarisation of population in the capital cities”.