Sikkim Earthquake (2011)

Sikkim Earthquake (2011)

When everyone was in peace enjoying their Sunday eve with some tea and snacks, an earthquake triggered named as Sikkim Earthquake or the Himalayan Earthquake with the epicenter as Kanchenjunga Conservation Area near the border of Nepal and Sikkim (a state of India) of a magnitude of 6.9 on 18th September, 2011 at around 18:10 IST. The shocks of this earthquake were felt on North eastern parts of India, southern Tibet, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal.

On an average about 110 people were killed of which most deaths were from Sikkim state of India, in East Sikkim districts and Singtam. 11 people were reported to be dead from Nepal when the wall of British Embassy in Katmandu got collapsed. Other than this, several buildings and houses were collapsed in Gangtok city. Not only in Sikkim and Nepal various monuments and buildings were destructed in Bhutan, Bangladesh and Tibet and another 7 were declared dead from these countries.

This earthquake hit the Himalayan region just after a few days of an earthquake of 4.2 magnitudes in Sonipat District of Haryana that felt few shocks in Delhi as well. And exactly after a yaer, on 18th September, 2012 cam another earthquake of 4.1 magnitudes that hit Sikkim sparking a few shocks among people reminding them of the original earthquake of 2011. A few considered it as an anniversary of last year’s Himalayan earthquake.

The magnitude 6.9 earthquake occurred inland at 18:10 IST on 18 September 2011, about 68 km northwest of Gangtok, Sikkim at a shallow depth of 19.7 km. At its location, the continental Indian and Eurasian Plates converge with one another along a tectonic boundary beneath the mountainous region of northeast India near the Nepal border. Although earthquakes in this region are usually interpolate in nature, preliminary data suggests the Sikkim earthquake was triggered by shallow strike-slip faulting from an interpolate source within the over-riding Eurasian Plate. Initial analyses also indicate a complex origin, with the perceived tremor likely being a result of two separate events occurring close together in time at similar focal depth.

The earthquake struck near a mountainous, albeit very populous region near the Sikkim–Nepal border; most of the structures were reported to be highly vulnerable to earthquake shaking. Upon impact, tens of thousands of residents evacuated their homes, and many areas suffered from communication and power outages. The strong shaking caused significant building collapse and mudslides; at least 111 people were confirmed killed by the effects of the earthquake, and hundreds of others sustained injuries. As the earthquake occurred in the monsoon season, heavy rain and landslides rendered rescue work more difficult.

Sikkim Earthquake (2011)

India: In India, property damage is estimated to be around ₹1,000 billion (US$16 billion) with the actual report yet to come. Northern India suffered the most from the earthquake, with at least 75 people killed. 60 people were reportedly killed in Sikkim alone. At least 7 people have died in Bihar, while 6 deaths have been reported from West Bengal. Power supply was disrupted in areas near Sikkim, including Kalimpong of Darjeeling district, and adjoining Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar districts; the outages were in part blamed on an affected electric substation in Siliguri. Water supply was interrupted in Sikkim. National Highway 31, the major highway linking Sikkim to the rest of India, was damaged. Ten of the dead were workers at a hydroelectric project on the Teesta River.

Nepal: In the capital city of Nepal, Kathmandu, damage from the earthquake was comparatively limited. Three people were killed when a wall at the British Embassy collapsed, and many others suffered injuries. The shaking effects were more severe in eastern Nepal, which is closer to the epicenter. There, hundreds of homes sustained significant damage, and due to saturated soil from preceding heavy rains widespread mudslides impacted the region. Sunsari experienced power and telephone communication outages. Two people were killed in the eastern city of Dharan. Overall, in Nepal 6 people died due to the earthquake.

Bhutan: There were no reports of casualties in Bhutan, although cracks on walls and ceilings of houses were reported in Wangthangkha village, Lango and the town area in Paro. There were also reports of a landslide right after crossing the Isuna Bridge from Paro towards Thimphu, and falling boulders after crossing Chundzom Bridge. Citizens were asked to avoid traveling on the Paro-Thimphu highway. Telecommunications networks were disrupted, with cellular networks unavailable after the quake. Prime Minister of Bhutan Jigmi Thinley updated in his status as “Phone lines remains clogged reflecting our caring and close knit society. No damage reported from East Bhutan. Four road blocks caused by falling debris are reported on the Chukha – Phuntsholing road. Two homes in Haa report damage with 3–4 people having suffered minor injury. Thimphu Dzong has sustained some cracks in the Utse and one of the four corner towers. Occupants have been moved out to safer parts. Please remain calm and alert.

Early rescue operations included four teams of National Disaster Response Force been rushed to Sikkim and five more teams were being sent from Kolkata. However, South and West Sikkim remained inaccessible delaying rescue operations owing to landslides caused by rainfall. A group of 14 tourists were rescued by the army from north Sikkim. The army had deployed 72 columns including infantry troops, combat engineers, four Dhruv and five Cheetah helicopters. Rain and landslides had hampered the rescue efforts of workers searching for survivors.

Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, on 19 September, announced ₹200,000 (US$3,100) as ex-gratia to a family member of those killed in the earthquake and ₹100,000 (US$1,600) for seriously injured. ₹50,000 (US$780) for those grievously injured and ₹25,000 (US$390) for those with minor injuries was announced by Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling.

Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami (2004)

On 26th December occurred the Indian Ocean Earthquake with the west coast of Indonesia as the epicenter. This is considered as the most deadly disaster in the history of mankind killing about 280k people from 14 different countries. Indonesia was the most destructed country because of the Tsunami caused by this earthquake followed by Sri Lanka and India. Scientist and weather forecasts consider this as the 3rd largest earthquake read by a seismograph ever.

This earthquake was triggered when the Indian tectonic plate was subducted by the Burma tectonic plate because of which these Tsunamis were triggered causing disaster and killing lakhs of people with the waves of up to 30 meters of height. This shock has a moment magnitude of 9.2 (approx.). This caused the entire planet to vibrate and slip up to 1 cm and caused other earthquakes as well, far away from the epicenter, as far as to Alaska.

The most disastrous earthquake triggered the largest Tsunami in 40 years in the Indian Ocean since 1883. Some reached even up to 3000 miles from Sumatra, Indonesia (epicenter of the earthquake) that is located about 100 miles off the coast of Sumatra underwater at a distance of about 6.2 miles. This was the largest time faulting with a time span of about 10 minutes.

The regions has been struck by numerous aftershocks-note the table and map below. Much like a zipper the quakes initially progressed north along the fault to the Andaman Island Region.

A tsunami is not a single wave, but a series of traveling ocean waves generated by geological disturbances near or below the ocean floor. With nothing to stop them, these waves race across the ocean until they reach shore where they slow down and rise up in height.

Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami (2004)

Most tsunamis are triggered by large undersea earthquakes but they can be caused by landslides, volcanoes or even meteor impacts. The last large tsunami in the region was due to the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883, due to the collapse of that volcano during an explosive eruption.

In this case the ocean bottom shifted displacing sea water in the ocean basin. The bigger the earthquake, the more the Earth’s crust shifts and the more seawater begins to move. A quake of this magnitude typically shifts the earth surface by up to 10-20 meters. In this case the rupture was up to 400 miles long, leading to a massive region of the ocean bottom shifting. The waves traveled outward just like those from throwing a rock into the water. Most tsunamis occur in the Pacific because the ocean basin is rimmed by the Ring of Fire, a long chain of the Earth’s most seismically active spots. In a tsunami, waves typically radiate out in directions opposite from the seismic disturbance. In the case of the Sumatra quake, the seismic fault ran north to south beneath the ocean floor, while the tsunami waves traveled mainly west and east.

Tsunamis are distinguished from normal coastal surf by their great length, width and speed. A single wave in a tsunami series might be 100 miles long and race across the ocean at 600 mph. When it approaches a coastline, the wave slows dramatically, but it also rises to great heights because the enormous volume of water piles up in shallow coastal bays. Unlike ordinary waves tsunamis do not break on the coastline every few seconds. Because of their size, it might take an hour for another one to arrive.

There unusual speed and wavelength allow tsunamis to be identified by buoys moored in the ocean. Although seismic networks recorded Sunday’s massive earthquake, there were no wave sensors in the Indian Ocean region and no means to determine the existence or direction a tsunami would travel. Thus, no warnings were issued. A single wave station south of the earthquake’s epicenter registered tsunami activity less than 2 feet high heading south toward Australia, researchers said.

The Pacific Ocean does have a Tsunami warning system.  The international warning system was started in 1965, the year after tsunamis associated with a magnitude 9.2 temblor struck Alaska in 1964. It is administered by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Member states include all the major Pacific Rim nations in North America, Asia and South America was well as the Pacific islands, Australia and New Zealand.

A lot of industries were shut down because their products wiped away with water in Tsunami and the demand also increased rapidly with decrease in the quantity available for use. This boomed the Sri Lankan and the Indian market as well.

14 Billion US Dollars (2004) were collected for the ailment of this disaster. A large team was needed for the cure of patients. A majority of people were then suffering from various types of diseases like Cholera, Hepatitis A and B, Diarrhea, Typhoid and Dysentery. Although there were severe chances of increment in the number of dead people but all this was handled with the help of different agencies, both government and private.

The main concern at that time was to provide proper sanitation facilities, fresh drinking water, healthy diet and required medicines. A few days were spent in burying dead bodies to avoid skin infections and other diseases caused by them. The World Food Program provided food to over 13 lakh people. Countries including Australia, United States, Canada, Norway, Germany etc. along with World Bank donated a lot of money for the ailment of affected people. India and Indonesia were in a lot of trouble because they are not Tsunami prone areas and didn’t had all required resources at once and even didn’t had many of them even today because they are a lot costlier than the afforded price they can pay.

Hudhud Cyclone (2014)

One of the most dangerous cyclones of all time was originated in the Andaman Sea in October 2014 that caused huge damage and loss of lives in eastern coasts of India and Nepal. This cyclone got originated under low-pressure system in the Andaman Sea on 6th October because of the influence of upper-air circulation. It then turned into a cyclonic storm on 8th October and became a destructive severe cyclonic storm on 9th October. IMD classified Hudhud as one of the most dangerous and severe cyclones of all time.


It hit hard the coasts of Vizag and near districts like Srikakulam and Viziangaram in Andhra Pradesh. Hudhud underwent rapid deepening in the following days and was classified as a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm by the IMD. Shortly before landfall near VisakhapatnamAndhra Pradesh, on October 12, Hudhud reached its peak strength with three-minute wind speeds of 185 km/h (115 mph) and a minimum central pressure of 960 mbar (28.35 inHg). The system then drifted northwards towards Uttar Pradesh and Nepal, causing widespread rains in both areas and heavy snowfall in the latter.

Hudhud caused extensive damage to the city of Visakhapatnam and the neighboring districts of Vizianagaram and Srikakulam of Andhra Pradesh. Damages were estimated to be ₹21908 crore (US$3.4 billion) by the Andhra state government. At least 124 deaths have been confirmed, a majority of them from Andhra Pradesh and Nepal, with the latter experiencing an avalanche due to the cyclone.

Halfway around the world, Cyclone Hudhud is causing widespread damage to the east coast of India. Hudhud moved inland earlier this morning, bringing wind gusts of 120 mph that uprooted trees and damaged houses in the states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. According to The Weather Channel, at least six people are dead, despite the mass evacuations. Widespread power outages have prevented communication, so the extent of the damage is somewhat unknown. Authorities are asking people not to leave their homes, and damage assessments will begin Monday. The storm has weekend since it moved inland, but high winds and heavy rainfall are expected to continue impacting the area.

According to the IMD, peak wind speeds will drop to 60 kph by Monday afternoon. Hudhud is expected to continue to dump heavy rains in northern and northeastern India and, eventually, snow when it reaches the Himalayan Mountains.

According to the Impact Forecasting catastrophe report, Cyclone Hudhud that hit four states of India and killed 68 people, caused economic losses of around INR700 billion (US$11 billion) with insured losses estimated to be in the region of INR40 billion ($650 million), as commercial, residential and agricultural lines of business were heavily impacted.

As the cyclone ‘Hudhud’ is closing in on the Andhra Pradesh coastline and is expected to make a landfall near Visakhapatnam by tomorrow afternoon, about 1.11 lakh people in five coastal districts have been shifted to safer places.

The government has made arrangements to evacuate 5,14,725 people in all, officials said, while the Army and the Navy have kept their personnel on stand-by for rescue and relief operations.

According to the reports received by the state Disaster Management Commissioner A R Sukumar, 35,000 persons have been evacuated in Srikakulam district, 6,000 in Vizianagaram, 15,000 in Visakhapatnam, 50,000 in East Godavari and 5,000 in the West Godavari district.

Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has been reviewing the situation with top officials and requested the ISRO to provide satellite images of Hudhud’s course.

In all, 436 villages across 64 mandals in the five districts have been identified as exposed to the threat of cyclone. The government has identified 370 relief camps for the evacuated people in these districts.

A senior official of the disaster management department here said 13 NDRF teams have been deployed in the districts while the Indian Air Force is moving three helicopters from the Yelahanka air base to Visakhapatnam.

Army personnel have been kept ready in Visakhapatnam, while the Eastern Naval Command has kept four ships on stand-by, equipped with rescue equipment and relief materials.

Six aircraft are standing by at the Naval Air Station INS Dega to undertake reconnaissance, rescue, casualty evacuation and air drop of relief materials.

Early on October 10, the JTWC classified the storm as a Category 1 tropical cyclone after it formed a microwave eye feature and was located in an environment favorable for further intensification with moderate wind shear. The IMD upgraded Hudhud to a very severe cyclonic storm later the same day, and the JTWC further upgraded the storm to a Category 2 tropical cyclone.

On October 11, Hudhud underwent rapid intensification and developed an eye at its center. In the following hours, the storm reached its peak intensity with a minimum central pressure of 950 mbar (28.05 in Hg) and three-minute average wind speeds of 185 km/h (115 mph). Maintaining intensity, it made landfall over Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh at noon of October 12, near 17.7°N 83.3°E. The maximum wind gust recorded by the High Wind Speed Recorder (HWSR) instrument of the Cyclone Warning Center in Visakhapatnam was 260 km/h (160 mph). Measured by the Doppler weather radar stationed in the city, the storm’s eye was 66 km (41 mi) in diameter. The strength of the winds disrupted telecommunication lines and damaged the Doppler radar, inhibiting further observations.

Bringing extensive damage to the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh, Hudhud gradually weakened as it curved northwards over land. The storm continued its weakening trend and was last noted as a well-marked low pressure area over east Uttar Pradesh on October 14. Unlike most BoB storms that dissipate quickly over land, Hudhud has been the only TC whose remnant ever reached as far north as the Himalayas.


Eastern India Storm (2010)

At approximately 11 pm local time, 13 April 2010, a severe storm struck parts of Bangladesh and eastern India. It lasted about 90 minutes, with the most intense portion spanning 30–40 minutes. As of 16 April, more than 140 deaths have been reported. At least 91 people died in the Indian state of Bihar, 44 in West Bengal, and 4 in Assam. In Bangladesh, five deaths and two hundred injuries were reported. Most of the deaths were women and children crushed when their huts were destroyed. Over 91,000 dwellings were destroyed in India and several thousand in Bangladesh; approximately 300,000 dwellings were at least partially damaged. Both mud and pucca housing were damaged by the storm. Nearly 500,000 people were left homeless or otherwise affected by the storm.

Eastern India Storm (2010)

According to local officials, the storm was an extreme nor ‘ester commonly formed over the Bay of Bengal during the hot months of the year. Meteorologist S.I. Laskar said the storm was due to an unstable atmosphere caused by excessive heat and humidity. “It is quite normal in the pre-monsoon season,” he added. The severity of the storm was likely due to wind pulling the moisture from the Bay of Bengal northward to north Bihar, where it converged with another cloud formation to form a 20 km tall cloud mass. The cool air in the clouds was met by hot air rising from the ground, which caused the storm to start rotating. Although thunderstorms had been predicted, the severity of the storm was unexpected.

Although not a tropical cyclone, the storm brought back memories of Cyclone Aila, which killed 155 people in the same area in May 2009. One eyewitness described the storm: “It was all dark. I thought it was the end of the world and we were going to die.” Locals received no warning of the impending storm and were mostly sleeping when the storm hit, increasing the casualties. Out-dated equipment with limited capabilities was blamed for the lack of warnings.

The storm spawned a large tornado, which lasted about 20 minutes. It was the first tornado recorded in Bihar history. Tornadoes are a very rare occurrence in India – the last one was in 1998. Radar equipment which could have provided early warning had arrived in the area but had not yet been installed because the building to house it was still under construction. The storm occurred during a heat wave with temperatures greater than 40 °C (104 °F) reported. West Bengal regional weather office director Gokul Chandra Debnath said that the heatwave “could have been a catalyst … that triggered the tornado”. The amount of damage caused directly by the tornado is unknown.

The storm struck in northeastern parts of West Bengal and Bihar states, with winds estimated at 120–160 kilometers/hour (75–100 miles/hour), and then moved into Bangladesh. The strong winds uprooted trees, displaced rooftops, and snapped telephone and electricity lines. The worst damage was reported in the towns of HemtabadIslampurKaliaganjKarandighi, and RaiganjPurina had the most reported casualties. Power was lost throughout the area, and communication was difficult due to severed phone lines and damaged rail lines. Nepal, which relies on India for part of its power generation, was also affected by the outages.

In Araria district, a jail was partially destroyed causing the transfer of 600+ inmates to another facility. In Rangpur, a police officer was killed and five others injured when a wall of the Rangpur Police Line building collapsed. The police barracks in Raiganj, which houses 300 officers, were partially destroyed. Several other police buildings had their roofs blown away.

The initial strong winds were followed by heavy rains, causing further damage to weakened structures. Widespread damage to crops and livestock was also reported in both West Bengal and Bihar, as well as in Bangladesh. More than 8,000 hectares of maize was destroyed in West Bengal. More than 4,000 hectares of maize and boro was destroyed in Bangladesh. In Assam, paddy crops, bananas, and other vegetation were damaged. Assam crops were already in poor shape due to earlier hail storms before 13 April storm and were further damaged by another strong storm on 15 April.

Rescue efforts have been inhibited as many roads, including National Highway 34, are blocked by downed trees and telephone poles. Medical personnel and supplies were quickly rushed to the affected areas, and aid packages were announced. Aid workers began to distribute rice, dried fruits, water, and temporary tarpaulin shelters on 15 April. However, many remote regions remained inaccessible as of 16 April. Aid workers said that hundreds of thousands of victims had not received any relief by 16 April. Another rainstorm on 15 April added to frustrations.

On 16 April, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced an ex gratia payment Rs 100,000 to the next of kin to persons killed in the storm. The money will come from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund. In the Lok Sabha, members have taken turns blaming each other’s political parties for the delays. On 19 April, The Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM) asked for the central assistance of Rs 10 billion for Bihar and Rs 5 billion for West Bengal. Prashanta Mazumdar additionally asked for government workers to assess the damage and distribute relief. Indian National Congress (INC) member Deepa Dasmunshi countered by saying the state administration had failed miserably. All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) leader Sudip Bandopadhyay agreed and added that the CPM was “more involved in state terrorism” against political opponents than the distribution of aid.[24] The CPM responded that West Bengal had done its best to provide relief. Dasmunshi strongly disagreed, claiming “not even one tarpaulin or piece of cloth has reached the victims. The state government has failed.” The CPM and other left parties accused Dasmunshi and Bandopadhyay of “playing politics at the cost of human lives”. Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav demanded that the House have a more thorough discussion on the matter