October 8, 2005 Kashmir Earthquake: Impact on Geoenvironment and Structures

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  • Topic: Earthquake, Kashmir, Mercalli intensity scale
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  • Published : April 20, 2013
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October 8 Kashmir Earthquake: Impact on Geoenvironment and Structures in the Karnah and Uri Tehsils of Kashmir (India) A relief-come-earthquake investigation team of the Centre for Disaster Studies and Research, University of Jammu, Jammu (India) visited the Karnah Tehsil of Kupwara district for the purpose of distribution of relief goods provided by the University of Jammu and the Red Cross. Professor Amitabh Mattoo, Vice-Chancellor, University of Jammu, flagged off the team on 2nd November from Jammu. Professor Mattoo also accompanied the team upto Srinagar. The earthquake investigation team surveyed the area for collection of the first hand information on the geological aspects and impact of the October 8 earthquake in the Karnah and Uri Tehsils. The relief team surveyed the villages around Tangdhar area and accordingly the relief goods were distributed among 500 households in the villages of Tad, Nalchian, Sadana (Nastachhun), Drangyare, Tangdhar and Rangwar on 4-5 November 2005.

Tangdhar-Tithwal valley

Landslides on the PAK Neelam Valley Road

Besides distribution of the relief goods among the worst affected people in the area the team members interviewed a cross-section of populace in these villages to know about their future needs and problems they are likely to face. The team found that shelter is the main problem these people would be facing on the onset of winter in the area. The team also observed that the distribution of relief goods in the Karnah Tehsil was not according to the need of the people. Some areas received too much of the relief that people started choosing among the goods that were distributed among them while other areas (comparatively inaccessible areas) either did not receive the relief at all or if received it was inadequate. A Team Comprising of the following members Ghulam M. Bhat (Reader in Geology)*, Sandeep K. Pandita (Lecturer in Geology), Yudhbir Singh (Scholar - Landslides), Vinay Sharma (Scholar – Engineering Geology), Sham Singh (Scholar - Sedimentology ) and Gulshan R Bhat (Scholar in Geography) visited the quake affected areas in Kashmir from Nov 2nd to 12th , 2005. The report is based on the investigations carried out by this team in Karnah and Uri Tehsils and was compiled in 3 rd week of November, 2005. *Post Graduate Department of Geology, University of Jammu, Jammu – 180 006 E-mail * bhatgm@rediffmail.com


There are 54 villages in the Karnah Tehsil and most of them are totally destroyed by the quake. Hundreds of people lost their lives, and thousands have been badly injured. About 50000 people have been rendered homeless by the quake in Karnah Tehsil alone. The area still trembles with aftershock tremors being felt every day. Most houses in the area have collapsed into heaps of rubble, and the remaining few that are left standing have developed severe cracks and can easily crumble due to aftershocks or under the weight of snow. Almost all people in the villages are now staying in tents and makeshift shelters made of tin sheets and wooden logs. They have lost almost all their personal possessions, stocks of food and domestic animals. Almost all shops and schools in the area have been destroyed. Roads and footpaths leading to the villages off the main highway have also been blocked by huge boulders and debris falls. Agricultural fields have developed deep cracks and the irrigation channels have been clogged. The earthquake investigation team visited Uri and villages beyond in the Baramulla district from 7-12 Noverber. The situation in this area is as stark as in Karnah. All the villages have been completely flattened, with almost every single building destroyed. More than 514 people have lost their lives in this area in the quake. Almost all families living there have been rendered homeless.

Ruined Thamni village (Karnah)

Flattened Ibkot village (Karnah)

Although the government claims providing of relief to all the affected people, but there are numerous...
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