Other States

Serial tremors force Mizoram people to sleep outdoors

A series of earthquakes since June 18 has made many people in Mizoram’s Champhai district sleep or spend their nights awake outdoors.

Also read: PM assures help to Mizoram after quake damages buildings, churches and roads

While two geologists – one from Delhi – reached the affected areas in the district bordering Myanmar on June 24, the State government has sought the help of psychologists to deal with the fear psychosis in Khawbung and Zokhawthar areas specifically.

Champhai district was the epicentre of the first earthquake on June 18 with 4.6 magnitude. The adjoining Saitual district bore the brunt of another tremor of 5.1 magnitude on June 21. Neither caused any damage.

The third tremor of 5.3 magnitude in Champhai district on June 22, less than 12 hours after the second, damaged at least 40 structures, including residential houses, community halls and churches. Villagers in Khawbung suffered the most along with those at Zokhawthar, a trade point on the Myanmar border.

“We experienced two aftershocks of milder intensity on Tuesday night and today [Wednesday] morning. Many people, particularly in the Khawbung side, are so scared they cannot sleep. They government is planning to send psychologists there for counselling,” Champhai’s Deputy Commissioner Maria C.T. Zuali told The Hindu from district headquarters Champhai.

She said the geologists headed for the Khawbung area would stay overnight to study certain areas experiencing the quakes more often than others.

“Many big buildings have not been damaged but similarly built structures suffered cracks or collapsed partially. Scientists said houses built over geological faults are vulnerable and there could be a case for relocation,” Ms Zuali said.

T.J. Lalnuntluanga, Mizoram’s Minister of State for Transport and Environment, Forest and Climate Change, said he had been visiting the affected places frequently to assure the people of the government’s help.

Zokhawthar falls within the Champhai South Assembly constituency that he represents for the Mizo National Front.

“Many people are too scared to sleep indoors, and it is understandable. We are preparing estimates of the buildings damaged and have assigned engineers to design structures that can withstand earthquakes of higher intensities,” he said.

The government, he added, would act on the advice of the geologists, who are expected to submit their report soon.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2020 9:16:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/serial-tremors-force-mizoram-people-to-sleep-outdoors/article31905442.ece

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