Earthquake is a common phenomenon. It is the shaking, rolling or sudden shock of the earth’s surface. The intensity of earthquake is related to the amount of energy released when rocks give way to the forces within the earth. It is measured with the help of an instrument known as seismograph. The intensity of an earthquake is measured on the Richter scale.

Earthquakes of greater intensity shake buildings, and loosen the bricks. Falling of walls may injure people and property. Earthquakes also cause breakage of water pipes, cut electric lines, damage rail and road routes.

Intensity on Richter

  • Up to 3: No damage
  • 5: Cracks in old buildings
  • 7: Cracks in roads
  • Above 8: Falling of buildings


Serious damage was caused by earthquakes to life and property, at Bhuj and Anjar near Ahmedabad and some other places in Gujarat on 26 January 2002. Earlier Latur in Maharashtra had also experienced a similar natural disaster on 30 September 1993. Another example is devastation due to earthquake in Sikkim on 18 September, 2011.

Impact of a severe earthquake

Most problems from an earthquake result due to falling objects and debris because of collapse of the building or ceiling plaster, and not due to the ground movement. A severe earthquake damages roads, bridges, dams, fields and settlements or cause fires due to short-circuits or other means.

Preventive Measures and Management

Modern earthquake-resistant architecture for the buildings, roads, dams, and bridges may be adopted.

In the event of an earthquake, stay as safe as possible. Be aware that some earthquakes are actually foreshocks and a larger earthquake might follow. Minimize your movements to a few steps to a nearby safe place and stay indoors until the shaking has stopped and you are sure exiting is safe.

Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, electricity poles, trees and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures mirrors or furniture. If you are in a multi-storyed building stay on the same floor. Do not use elevators or run towards the staircase doors.

If you are in a building and unable to move, cover your head and body with your arms, pillows or blankets to protect yourself from falling objects.