Minimizing devastations by earthquakes - Lessons from Japan

Minimizing devastations by earthquakes - Lessons from Japan

Question:- Japan is one of the world's most seismically active country however the country has reduced the devastation through its strict code of construction and the drills. What should India learn from Japan to minimize the losses caused by earthquake?

One of the most seismically active country, Japan has experienced a number of earthquakes and will continue to. This is because of the geological location of the region. The government of Japan has taken effective measures to minimize the damages caused to life and property. Billions of dollars have been spent to develop the most advanced technology.

Constructions codes- The high raising towers have inside them an extra steel bracing and giant rubber pads embedded hydraulic shock absorbers making these buildings among the most sturdiest in the world during a major earthquake. Tsunami warning signs along the coast, high sea walls and well marked escape routes offer some protection during a tsunami. Earthquake and tsunami drills are a routine for the Japanese people which is why Japan is the best prepared country for the two disasters.

The hydraulic cylinders elongate and contract as the building sways. The giant sized rubber and steel pads are installed at the bottom where the excavation of the building begins.

The building codes in Japan are far more stringent including points like how much must a building sway in order to take utmost precaution against an earthquake. Huge amounts and resources have been put in to protect structures as well as retrofitting older and more vulnerable structures.

Sensors to alarm an earthquake- In case of an earthquake, some coastal towns have a network of sensors that set off alarms in every house and automatically closes the floodgates so as to prevent waves from billowing upstream.

The government has established a nationwide earthquake observation network that studies the seismic intensity in around 1800 locations. The country's emergency earthquake early alert system is on the roll since 2007. P-waves cause minor initial tremors whereas S-waves cause major tremors. The alert system picks up P-waves close to the epicenter calculating the scale of the earthquake as well as the intensity in different locations. If the intensity is 3.5 magnitude or more, the system is designed to automatically send signals to public facilities, transportation etc.

The purpose is to give people enough time to vacate or take required measures before the bigger movement starts.

School Drills- Schools in Japan conduct drills in which alarms ring and children go under their desks to save from falling debris. This is a monthly activity which also includes teaching children to rush to the center of the playground in case they are in the open.

Children are taken to the simulation machines to give them a feel of the earthquake in order to familiarize them. Schools that have two storey or more are equipped with evacuation chutes on which the children can easily slide down.
India too has its northern and eastern region highly active in tectonic movements, however not much has or is been done to curb the damages. Delhi, the capital too is at high risk and most of the construction will not withstand an earthquake.

India can begin with introducing drills at schools and other places to spread awareness and slowly move on to constructing earthquake resistant buildings in the high risk zones.
Post your comment