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Nagaland - Natural Hazards

Nagaland has been hit by many disasters in the past. The most notable ones are the Great Shillong Earthquake on 12th June 1897 which measured 8.7 in the Richter scale and the Assam Tibet earthquake on 15th August 1950 which measured 8.5 in the Richter scale. However, since those days there were no facilities to record and to document, there is no local data supporting the disasters. However interviews with the older generation people reveals that the 1950 earthquake was very much felt by Nagaland, and it even resulted in the destruction of many houses in certain areas. It was even said the earth opened up and buffalos were buried alive.

Bureau of Indian Standards, based on the past seismic history, grouped the country into four seismic zones, viz. Zone-II, -III, -IV and V. Of these, Zone V is the most seismically active region, while zone II is the least. Unfortunately Nagaland falls under the Zone-V category, making it one of the most seismically active region.

In the most recent earthquake (4th january,2016), Nagaland state was fortunate with no reports of human casualties or major damage to properties. With an immensive strike measuring 6.7 at its epicenter point at Temenglong district Imphal. Nagaland State Disaster Management Authority (NSDMA), Home Department confirmed there was no report of human casualty. Some damage to properties were reported in Peren and Dimapur district.

According to information from Nagaland State Disaster Management Authority, the earthquake originated in the western part of Manipur between Imphal and Noney-Longmai Tamenglong district, and occurred as the result of strike slip faulting in the complex plate boundary region between India plate and the Eurasia plate in Southeast Asia. The earthquake occurred at a depth of close to 50-55 km within the lithosphere plate. The origin time was recorded at 4:37am and travel time residual at 1.05 second. In the neighbouring state of Manipur such as Nagaland, Assam, Mizoram and Tripura the intensity was felt very strong. According to the U.S. Geological Survey the quake had a magnitude of 6.7 and occurred 57 km deep and struck 29 km west of Imphal in Tamenglong which borders Myanmar.

Landslide is a major disaster that keeps affecting Nagaland specially in Monsoon, when heavy down pour is experienced all over Nagaland. It is a fact that properties worth lakhs and crores of rupees have been carried away by these Landslides. Some of the major Landslide Disasters that Nagaland has faced are - in August 2001 Dimapur area experienced a cloud burst which lasted almost for one hour. This gave rise to so many landslides in that area, particularly the Paglapahar region which experienced the heavy down pour. In a stretch of just 4 kms on National Highway 39, seven major slides occurred which brought traffic to a standstill. In this incident 1 Tata Sumo was crushed where 3 people were killed and some injured.

In August 2003 the whole New Market colony in Kohima Town was affected by landslides. Many houses were razed to the ground, and many more were made unfit for habitation. The road was affected very badly, that for a year it had to be abandoned. Property worth lakhs were destroyed by this slide.

The most tragic landslide that affected Nagaland in the recent past was the May 26th 2005 Landslide that occurred in Mokochung Town. In this pre dawn landslide, 14 people were buried alive, so many more injured and damage to property was extensive. Wokha town was affected very badly by a landslide in August 2006. National Highway 61 was affected very badly. Extensive damage to property was reported.

During September 2006, Zunheboto Town was affected by a Major landslide. This resulted in extensive damage to property. On October 17, 2007- about 150 meters of National Highway 39 near Kiruphema went down almost 400 metres. This resulted in the complete blockade of the highway for 2 days.

On August 22, 2015, National Highway 29 leading to Manipur was cut off after a major landslide from the hill top in Phesema village on Saturday, around 10km away from the state capital Kohima. The mudslide which swept down hills destroyed the nearby crop fields and properties. Although efforts were made for road-clearance, the mudslides and erratic weather have made such attempts futile.

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Page last modified: 19-02-2018 14:42:34 ZULU