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Bihar is located in the high seismic zone that falls on the boundary of the tectonic plate joining the Himalayan tectonic plate near the Bihar-Nepal Border and has six sub-surface fault lines moving towards the Gangetic planes in four directions. Of the 38 districts of Bihar, 8 districts fall in seismic zone V of which 2 districts (Madhubani and Supaul) fall entirely in seismic zone V while 24 districts fall in seismic zone IV and 6 districts in seismic zone III with most districts falling under multiple seismic zones (i.e. either seismic zone V & IV or seismic zone IV & III). The state has in the past experienced major earthquakes; the worst was the 1934 earthquake in which more than 10,000 people lost their lives, followed by 1988 earthquake and recent earthquake was the Sikkim earthquake in September 2011.

The new and growing urban centres in the state where building codes and control mechanisms are not enforced, earthquake remains a major threat to cities. This could result in social infrastructures such as schools and hospitals that are not built to be earthquake resistant could lead to serve damage and loss of lives as well.



A.  Before an earthquake:

  • Follow and advocate local safe building codes for earthquake resistant construction.
  • Follow and advocate upgrading poorly built structures.
  • Make plan and preparation for emergency relief.
  • Identify the medical centres, fire fighting stations, police posts and organise relief society of your area.
  • Know the electric and water shut off locations in your house.
  • Heavy objects, glasses, cutlery should be kept in lower shelves.
  • Flower pots should not be kept on the parapet.


B.  During an earthquake:


  • Keep calm and reassure others.
  • During the event, the safest place is an open space, away from buildings.
  • If you are indoors, take cover under a desk, table, bed or doorways and against inside alls and staircase. Stay away from glass doors, glass panes, windows or outside doors. Do not rush to go out of the building, to avoid stampede.
  • If you are outside, move away from buildings and utility wires.
  • Once in the open, stay there till the vibrations stops.
  • If you are in a moving vehicle, stop as quickly as possible and stay in the vehicle.
  • Free all pets and domestic animals so that they can run outside.
  • Do not use candles, matches or other open flames. Put out all fires.


C.   After an earthquake:


  • Keep stock of drinking water, foodstuff and first-aid equipment in accessible place.
  • Do not spread and believe rumours.
  • Turn on your transistor or television to get the latest information/bulletins and aftershock warnings.
  • Provide help to others and develop confidence.
  • Attend the injured persons and give them aid, whatever is possible and also inform hospital.
  • Be prepared for aftershocks as these may strike.
  • Close the valve of kitchen gas stove, if it is on. If it is closed, do not open. Do not use open flames.
  • Do not operate electric switches or appliances, if gas leaks are suspected.
  • Check water pipes, electric lines and fittings. If damaged, shut off the main valves. Do not touch live wires of electricity.
  • If needed, open doors and cup boards carefully as objects may fall.