Mizoram: Villagers abandon home to makeshift tents amid recurring earthquakes

Mizoram: Villagers abandon home to makeshift tents amid recurring earthquakes

Champhai District Mizoram Champhai District Mizoram

In Champhai district, Mizoram bordering Myanmar, people are spending nights outside their homes in makeshift tents after a series of earthquakes hit the state within a month.

So far, at least 22 earthquakes have rocked four districts — Champhai, Saitual, Siaha and Serchhip since June 18. Champhai was the hardest-hit district. The tremors ranged from 4.2 to 5.5 in magnitude.

The local angle

The District Administration has formed a disaster management authority and has even provided money and equipment for making the tents. Inside Northeast spoke to C Liansangpuia, AIR Mizoram, who explained to us the local angle. "There has been recurrent earthquakes and around 60 since mid-June with one as far as 5.2 richer scale. The villagers are scared of the aftershocks and there have been multiple damages of property. As such, people have abandoned their houses to makeshift shelter. This along with Corona is a two-fold disaster".

The technical view in Mizoram

Inside Northeast spoke to Mr Sawma, Assistant Professor, Mizoram University, who visited the villagers and to understand the ground situation. "The transverse fault and the Indian plate moving northward is causing stress along with the pressure from Myanmar's side. The folds are oblique and due to strain accumulation, rapture has been caused leading to earthquakes", said Sawma. A fault is a fracture or zone of fractures between two blocks of rock. Faults allow the blocks to move relative to each other. ... During an earthquake, the rock on one side of the fault suddenly slips with respect to the other

So far, there has been 12 earthquakes originating from Mizoram and residents claim they have never experienced anything like this although the area has been earthqauke prone. In 1997, there was a big earthquake in the state, however, now the epicentres in the state have raised to 12 this summer.

Sawma said, "The day we reached Champhai, which is an epicentral area (The point on the earth's surface directly above the focus of an earthquake) the place was already shaking and the people outside could even hear it. There are at least 4, 5 aftershocks in a day and obviously people are afraid because of that and the cracks are there".

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Newer challenges: Mizoram

Although Mizoram is earthquake zone 5, the affected areas now face earthquakes, intermediate earthquakes and aftershocks at the same time. This has made life difficult for the local people leading to even psychological problems along with difficulties in managing COVID-19.

"On l7th July, a lady while speaking to me was shaking and she couldn't even talk due to the trauma of facing the earthquakes. It is difficult to maintain COVID-19 protocol in these situations. Still, the villagers have maintained strict vigil against the viral pandemic", said the Geologist.

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Edited By: Admin
Published On: Jul 23, 2020