The surprise visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Lahore on his way back from Kabul was the most debated story on Friday. But as the media houses were wrapping up the day’s work, an earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale, with a depth of approximately 200 kilometers stuck Pakistan, Northern India and parts of Afghanistan.
Exactly two months ago, a strong earthquake which measured 7.5 on the Richter scale stuck the Chitral region, which resulted in the loss of many lives. And how can one forget the Kashmir earthquake of October 8, 2005 where the number of causalities exceeded 100,000.
Few years ago I went on a trip to Hunza with my family. I remember a sign board displayed by the tourism department on which it was written 'Here Continents Collided'.
This collision took place around 55 million years ago when Indian and Eurasian plates collided with each other which caused uplift and resulted in the creation of the tallest mountain peaks which are present in the Karakoram, Hindu Kush and the Himalayas.
This collision is the main reason why this region has an active fault-line, and according to US Geological survey India, Afghanistan and in particular Pakistan are considered the most active earthquake zones of the world.
In this situation, the government should revise their disaster management policies to make sure that they are well prepared before any other major earthquake takes place. Taking example from Facebook safety check feature, the first thing the related authorities should do is to adopt the latest telecommunication links which should be designed in such a way that they do not break down easily.
Secondly, first aid training should be given to school and college students so those students can tackle minor injuries, until latest medical teams arrive on scene.
The last and most important policy should be to design earthquake proof buildings for the future. The public should not be allowed to use old buildings until passed by the government bodies.
All the above mentioned recommendations are not ideas that have never been implemented. The developed countries which lie on active fault lines like Japan have adopted strict earthquake management policies and the policies are yielding positive results for the country.
Since it’s a proven fact that one cannot change the geographical dynamics of an area, one can definitely adopt relevant rules to accommodate his needs. And it is high time Pakistan started to reframe its own policies.