Volatile threat

Andaman archipelago on alert, following warnings of possible volcano eruption

By Deborshi Chaki
Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

a series of mild tremors following the earthquake, which hit the Andaman and Nicobar islands on September 14, 2002, has raised fears of a possible eruption of the Barren volcano. Experts say that a possible eruption of the volcano, located a few kilometres away from Diglipur at Barren Island can devastate the entire region. The early nineties witnessed the last full-scale eruption of the volcano, the only active one in the country.

According to S G Gaonkar, director, central region, Geological Survey of India (gsi), Nagpur, the 'epicentre' of the recent earthquake was about 30 kilometres under the Andaman seabed. Significantly, the Barren Island is on the 'inner volcanic arc' of this region that stretches from the mouth of Burma upto Java in Indonesia.

Gaonkar points out that although, in this case there is no direct relation between the earthquake and the eruption, there have been instances when volcanic eruptions have been triggered by earth movements. The possibility of eruption is particularly strong in this case since the quake has occurred on the inner volcanic arc.

Meanwhile, islanders are living in constant fear. Besides coping with frequent tremors, the danger of a possible volcanic eruption is also looming large on them. Since the earthquake, people are spending nights in the open. The local administration has dispatched two medium-sized motor vessels, which would lay anchored off the Diglipur coast.

The island is under constant threat, as it lacks a proper disaster management plan. Though authorities say that plans are on for devising a disaster management strategy, the reality is that it is still in its infancy. However, despite the significant role that the local populace has in disaster management, there are no visible signs of them being included in the recent strategy.

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