GUWAHATI, April 15 - A moderate earthquake jolted the State at 7.26 pm on April 13. As reported by the IMD, magnitude of the earthquake was 6.8 in the Richter scale. The epicentre of the earthquake was on the Myanmar-India border at latitude 230 N and longitude 94.90 E at a depth of 134 km below the surface of the earth.
�No casualties have so far been reported from anywhere in the State including the Barak Valley districts, Golaghat and Jorhat till compilation of this report. However, as reported by the District Emergency Operation Centre, Cachar, some minor damage occurred in the Fire Service Station building located at Tarapur of Silchar town,� Assam State Disaster Management Agency (ASDMA) sources said.
Panic in Guwahati: The earthquake which took place on the evening of April 13, even as people across Assam were celebrating Rongali Bihu, caused immeasurable panic among residents of the city.
Coming only a year after the devastation caused during by the Nepal earthquake, where some pilgrims from Guwahati had also died, Wednesday�s tremor once more reminded the people here of the constant threat from quakes in this seismically active region.
Officials of the Kamrup Metro district administration and the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) said that the strong intensity quake caused some minor cracks in a few high-rise apartments and commercial buildings in Guwahati.
However, there were no cases of any serious injury to any person. Some people did suffer minor injuries while running down from buildings and there were also reports of many persons suffering from headache and nausea as the quake lasted for almost two minutes.
The quake forced people to rush out of their homes and apartments. Traffic on the roads, which was thin due to the holiday, also came to a halt for some time as drivers stopped their vehicles.
DDMA officials said that cracks were reported from three tall apartment buildings. The lift at the Seema Plaza at Ulubari also tumbled down from the fourth floor.
There were reports of power supply being cut to some locations for a short time as a safety measure. Some people also complained about minor disruptions in cell phone services.
�We all ran downstairs when the earthquake came and assembled at the basement. The number of people was less in the apartment because of Bihu. Otherwise there could have been a stampede. My husband picked up a torchlight just before rushing out of our flat and that came in handy because there was no electricity at that time. By the grace of the Almighty there�s been no damage to our building,� said Sagarika Bezbaruah, a resident of Synergy Bliss Apartment, Ganesh Mandir Road in New Guwahati locality.
Pranab Bayan, a resident of Sarumataria, said people in his locality, came out of their houses as soon as the tremors were felt and spent quite some time outside in fear of aftershocks.
District administration sources said that all circle officers, police OCs and other staff were immediately directed to inquire into the situation and report back immediately with assessment of any damage to properties and injuries to citizens.
Fire and emergency services were kept on vigil to respond to any emergency. The strong room at the Nabin Chandra Bordoloi Indoor Stadium at Sarusajai Sports complex where the EVMs of the Assembly polls from all the four constituencies located in Kamrup Metro electoral district are been kept, is safe and no damage was reported from the place. DDMA sources said that the authorities already have an earthquake management plan in place and an elaborate drill to be carried out in case of emergency, is active.
�The Assam State Disaster Management Authority has a 24X7 control room. The SDRF and the NDRF are always on standby for any such situation and all the circle officers of the district have also been given instructions to respond immediately to earthquake or any other natural or man-made calamities,� said an official.
Sources said that both the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) and the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) have in recent months conducted a series of checks on both commercial and residential buildings to find out details about their safety standards, including structural strength of the high-rises.
�Besides, a number of mock drills and awareness programmes on disaster management and how to cope in such situations have been launched at various places in recent times. We will intensify such campaigns in the days to come,� said sources.