‘Uttarakhand Bhookamp Alert’, a first-of-its-kind application in India has been launched by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee with the view to provide alerts about an impending Earthquake and give timely warning to the people, who are unfortunately stuck somewhere during the quake. With this, Uttarakhand has become the first state in the country to avail the facility of such an application and therefore, the lifeguarding mobile application has been launched by the Uttarakhand government on 4th August 2021.
A real-time Earthquake Early Warning tool
Considering the vulnerability to earthquakes in the state of Uttarakhand, the lifeguarding mobile application will fulfill the objective of detecting the onset of Earthquakes in real-time. Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) is a real-time earthquake information dissemination system that will issue warnings before any significant tremors take hold of any area. Along with this, the application aims to provide an expected time of arrival of the earthquake, as well as, the intensity of the tremor to prevent any loss of life. The basis upon which the Earthquake Early Warning system works is the speed of the seismic waves, which propagate after the release of stress from fault movement. The EEW system exploits the advantage by taking note of the strong ground shaking which is caused by waves that travel at about half the speed of the primary waves and at a much slower speed than electromagnetic signals.
Further, adding to the features of the application, the investigator of the project, Professor Kamal, in an official statement has said that the Uttarakhand Bhookamp Alert app is the only app in the world that locates people who are stuck somewhere during the unfortunate natural calamity and therefore, send their information to the Disaster Response Force. During the launch of the application, he further informed that a few seconds to a minute can be gained with the system, depending on how close a person is to the epicenter. For example, during an earthquake in a hill district, people in Dehradun would get about 15 seconds to evacuate.
Furthermore, the government is focusing its efforts towards creating awareness and managing the rescue operations by putting in sirens to alert the public, especially in urban areas.
This path-breaking project has been sponsored by the Uttarakhand State Disaster Management Authority (USDMA). The mobile application is designed in two versions that are compatible with both Android and iOS platforms.
Need of the Application
The state of Uttarakhand is prone to seismic waves and hence, the mobile application will help the authorities to carry out rescue operations during the earthquake effectively. The hills of Uttarakhand are often hit with mild earthquakes and it is important to note that more than 51 mild earthquakes have hit the state since 2015. Further, an earthquake of 6.8 magnitudes ravaged Uttarkashi in 1991, killing over one thousand people. In 1999, another 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck Chamoli, killing more than 100 people. It was estimated that the largest earthquake in the region occurred over two centuries ago, in 1803, with a magnitude of 7.