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18 Tibetan schools to go on simultaneous earthquake drill

April 7, 2009

By Kalsang Rinchen
Phayul
April 3, 2009

Dharamsala, April 3 -- A quake drill will be done
in all the Tibetan schools in Himachal Pradesh
and Delhi tomorrow to mark 104 years since the
massive earthquake that shook Kangra and nearby
areas including Dharamsala. This drill is
organized by the GeoHazards International,
GeoHazards Society, and the Library of Tibetan
Works and Archives in conjunction with the schools’ administration.

Students and staff of eighteen Tibetan Schools in
Himachal Pradesh and Delhi will participate in
the earthquake preparedness drill, said Tsering
Dhondup, coordinator for the Tibetan Schools
Shake-Out Drill. Besides, some Tibetan schools in
Uttaranchal and Meghalaya states will also do the drill, he said.

India is located in one of the most
earthquake-prone regions in the world. On April
4, 1905, an earthquake measuring 7.8 on Richter
scale struck Dharamshala and Kangra region, and
is considered the worst killer earthquake to hit
India. 19,727 lives were lost and 100,000 buildings were brought down.

According to the Seismic Hazard Zoning Map of
India, the districts of Chamba, Kullu, Kangra,
Una, Hamirpur, Mandi, and Bilaspur lie in Zone V
(Maximum risk zone), while the rest of the
districts in Himachal Pradesh are located in Zone
IV (High risk zone). Almost 60 percent of the
Tibetan schools in Himachal Pradesh are located
in the Zone V; the rest are located in the Zone
IV. Delhi itself is located in Zone IV.
Seismologists believe that the next major
earthquake to strike in the Himalayan region
could affect the whole of North India.

In many previous earthquakes, a major percentage
of victims were children. This, the drill
organizers say, was due to a lack of awareness
and unpreparedness. “School administrators, staff
and children must be aware of what is to be done
before, during and after a natural disaster.”

The purpose of the Tibetan Schools Shake-Out
Drill is to help all Tibetan Schools in Himachal
Pradesh and Delhi to prepare for earthquakes and
to prevent natural disasters from becoming catastrophes.

"While the Shake-Out Scenario is a hypothetical
one, it is important to be prepared. No task is
more important than creating a safe learning
environment for a nation's children. School
Safety is one of the most important ways to
promote a culture of disaster preparedness. We
need to learn lessons from past earthquakes and
to make our schools a safe place for children by
practicing preparedness drills," the organizers say.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
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