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JK on shaky ground, earthquakes jolt valley 135 times since 2009

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Srinagar, Apr 23: At least 135 earthquakes have hit Kashmir Valley in the last decade, with experts recommending earthquake-resistant constructions.
Official figures from the Meteorological Department reveal that the earthquakes have the region since 2009.
The Kashmir felt tremors nine times in 2009, six times in 2010, seven times in 2011, 11 times in 2012, 25 times in 2013, and 19 times in 2014.
In 2015, the valley recorded the highest number of earthquakes in a calendar year—27 times in total, 19 which were significant while eight measured less than 4 on the Righter scale.
The same year, two powerful quakes were recorded including the one measuring 7.5 on Richter scale on October 26. The quake consumed three lives and caused damage to scores of houses across the state.
In December that year, tremors jolted J&K thrice including a power earthquake on 26 midnight of the month measuring 7 on the Richter scale in which two people died due to heart attack.
In 2016, Kashmir was jolted nine times with the intensity ranging from 4 to 6 on the Richter scale.
However, there was increase in 2017 when Kashmir witnessed earthquakes 19 times. In 2018, three earth quakes have been recorded so far.
Kashmir Valley is vulnerable to disasters. At least 13 out of India’s 100 districts have been identified as ‘multi-hazard districts’.
According to the Indian Meteorological Department, most parts of Kashmir covering the districts of Srinagar, Ganderbal, Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora, Budgam, Anantnag and parts of Jammu region, Doda, Ramban, Kishtwar come under Seismic Zone V and are prone to earthquakes. While the rest part of the state comes under Seismic Zone IV.
Director Meteorological Department, Sonam Lotus, said the frequency of the quakes suggests that the people as well as the government should be “well prepared” to deal with such incidents.
“We need to take some measures like building earthquake-resistant constructions,” Lotus said.
Professor Shakil Ahmad Romshoo, who teaches Earth Sciences at Kashmir University, said the people should be well prepared for earthquakes.
“We can’t predict the timing, magnitude and place of an earthquake, but we should be well prepared in dealing with any such natural disaster,” Romshoo said.
An official document of the district development commissioner office Srinagar says that ‘disaster prone and vulnerable’ areas in Srinagar would be identified, so that “residential colonies are raised at safe locations and people living in risk prone areas are rehabilitated elsewhere”.
“Geology and Mining department shall be involved in identification of vulnerable areas. The concerned department would be asked to prepare a geological map, which would delineate areas in district Srinagar that can be exposed to the impact of strong earthquakes and other natural disasters,” the document reads.
An official posted at Divisional Commissioner Kashmir office said that there are many buildings in the district, which have been constructed without adhering to the norms pertaining to the earthquake resistant construction.
“Such buildings are not safe enough to resist the impact of a severe earth quake. If earthquake resistant technology is used in construction of buildings, such structures can withstand earthquakes up to a certain magnitude,” the official said.
The state cabinet approved the Disaster Management Plan in July 2015, when Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had been chief minister of J&K.
The government had said that it was an effort to reduce the vulnerability to hazards and cope with disasters and natural calamities in a more effective manner. However, the official said that government has done “little” to deal with disasters.
When asked Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan what measures were taken to deal with disasters, he said that he was in a meeting.


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Upcoming snow spell: Avalanche warning issued for Kashmir, Ladakh districts

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Srinagar, Jan 19: Kashmir areas experienced fresh snowfall on Saturday, with the weather office forecasting more in store for the next three days.
“A western disturbance (WD) is presently active over the state under whose influence moderate to heavy snowfall is likely to occur in the valley till January 23 after which the intensity of the WD will start decreasing,” a Met Department official said here.
District administrations have set up helplines to help prevent any untoward incident due to the heavy snowfall.
Meanwhile Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan Saturday issued fresh avalanche warning for nine avalanche prone districts of Kashmir division.
The warning has been issued for the avalanche-prone areas of district Anantnag, Kulgam, Budgam, Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora, Ganderbal, Kargil and Leh.
As per the hand out, the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir has directed the Deputy Commissioners of all these districts to advise the people living in avalanche prone areas not to venture out to avoid the loss of lives.
The Div Com also directed the concerned DC’s to take all the precautionary measures and to keep the SDRF, Police and Para-medical staff with ambulances in readiness to avert any untoward incident.
While the nightlong cloud cover increased minimum temperatures throughout the valley on Saturday, the maximum temperatures are expected to drop further, the weather official said.
Srinagar recorded minus 2.0 degrees Celsius, Pahalgam minus 4.4 and Gulmarg minus 7.0 as the minimum temperatures.
Leh town had minus 9.2 degrees Celsius and Kargil minus 18.9 as the night’s lowest temperature.
Jammu city recorded 8.3 degrees Celsius, Katra 9.1, Batote 3.9, Bannihal 2.3 and Bhaderwah 1.3 as the minimum temperatures.

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UN clearly did its job: Guterres on Kashmir human rights report

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United Nations: United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Friday hoped that India and Pakistan will engage in a “meaningful dialogue” to resolve their issues.
The UN chief also said he has been offering his “good offices in relation to the dialogue between the two countries that, until now, had no conditions of success.”
Guterres was speaking to reporters at the UN headquarters in New York.
“I hope that the importance of both India and Pakistan is such in international affairs, I hope that the two countries will be able to engage in a meaningful dialogue,” he said.
The UN chief was responding to a question on his repeated urging of dialogue between the two South Asian neighbours.
In relation to the human rights situation, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has produced recently a very detailed report. So, the UN has clearly done its job in that regard, Guterres said to a question by a Pakistan journalist on the situation in Kashmir.

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Day after grenade attack, forces conduct search op in Lal Chowk

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Srinagar: A joint search operation was launched by the forces and police in the commercial Hub Lal Chowk area of Srinagar on Saturday.
The search came a day after the grenade attack took place in the locality, which left a vehicle and windowpanes of some shops damaged.
Witnesses said that a large contingent of police and paramilitary troopers were deployed near the Clock Tower here while the frisking was also intensified.
They said that drones too were used during the operation.
However, a top police official said that it was a routine exercise ahead of upcoming Republic Day.

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