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Chinese firm to build early earthquake warning system in Nepal

Earth liquid estimates

A Chinese firm will build an early earthquake warning system by deploying 120 sensors across Nepal to monitor seismic waves in the quake-hit country where a massive temblor of 7.8-magnitude in April killed nearly 9,000 people.

The Early Earthquake Warning system (EEWS) transmits warnings via radio waves – which travel several times faster than tremors – during an earthquake of 6.0 magnitude or higher earthquake.

If the system had existed at the time of the quake that struck Nepal on April 25, people in the capital Kathmandu could have been notified 18 seconds in advance, and thousands of lives could thus have been saved, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Wang Tun, director of the Institute of Care-life as saying.

Nearly 9,000 people were killed and 22,000 injured in the quake.

Wang, however, did not specify the costs and funding part of it.

Jiba Raj Pokharel, vice chancellor of the Nepal Academy of Science and Technology, said he hoped that the system could be put into service soon.

China started to build its own EEWS in 2010 after the devastating Wenchuan earthquake in Sichuan and the system now covers 2.1 million square km of the country.

China started to pay attention to early earthquake warnings after the 8.0-magnitude Wenchuan earthquake, which killed nearly 70,000 people.

Many other countries, including Japan, Mexico and Turkey, launched such systems much earlier, Chen Huizhong,a research fellow with the administration’s Institute of Geophysics said.

A real-time system gives warnings within seconds after a quake is possible and can save lives in quakes with a magnitude of 6.0 or higher because the warnings, transmitted via radio waves, travel faster than seismic waves.

“Radio waves travel at 300,000 kilometres per second, while seismic waves travel at 3 to 6 kilometre per second. People who live in nearby areas may escape before the seismic waves arrive,” Chen said.

The Institute of Care-life, is the contractor of the EEWS in Nepal that includes 120 sensors, a central facility and terminals to receive early earthquake warnings messages, the report said.