An earthquake is a natural calamity. It is caused by the eruption of some volcano. The earth is shaken violently, cracks appear in the earth, and houses are razed to the ground. Thus there is much loss of life and property. The violence of an earthquake depends upon the distance from the site of the volcano. In more distant places, it is mild and often there is no loss of life and property.
The violence of the earthquake was over seven on the Richter scale. The earthquake was so violent that in the region thousands of houses collapsed in a moment, wide cracks appeared in the roads, and it is estimated that over thirty thousand people were killed at one stroke and the two towns were completely razed to the ground. Thousands were rendered houseless and only heaps of rubbish was to be seen all-round. The earthquake was caused by some fault in the rocky-layer of the earth and it is estimated to be the most devastating tragedy of this country. Terrified people ran out of their houses and preferred to remain in to open for fear of fresh tremors, and eye-witness say that people could be seen running helter-skelter this way and that ways, as if they were mad. It was all a ghastly tragedy of unprecedented magnitude.
Relief operations were undertaken on a massive scale. The central ministers including the Prime Minister himself visited the region and Rs. 900 crores were immediately sanctioned for relief operations. Contribution and help, both in cash and kind, was received from the other states of the country, as well as from the other countries of the world. A number of voluntary organizations, too, came forward to help the government relief operations. Medicines, doctors, blankets, food, etc, were air lifted to the region from all over the country. No efforts or expenses were spared to mitigate the hardships of the people. Construction of new houses and repair of existing ones was undertaken n a war-footing.
However relief work was hampered due to bad weather. There was constant rain, hail and snow, and stormy and chilly winds continued to blow. There were wide cracks in the roads and bridges were broken. Many parts of the region were beyond reach of road. Food, medicines, blankets etc., had to be air dropped by helicopters. The workers, both Government servants and volunteers, had to face great hardships. They had to work round the clock in most adverse conditions. But they did not lose heart,. The havoc caused by the earthquake was followed by starvation and epidemics. Thousands more died of cold and continued on war-footing. Everything possible was done to mitigate the hardships of the people.
The earthquake is a terrible calamity, but there is no protection against it. Floods can be prevented, if certain measures are taken in advance, but there are no such measures to prevent an earthquake. An earthquake is an expression of the wrath of God in the real sense of the Word. None can escape the ravages caused by it. How destructive an earthquake can be, we may judge from the havoc caused by the earthquake in 1988 in northern Bihar and Killhari. Thousands perished and lakhs were rendered homeless. God alone can protect us from this nature calamity.