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Flood threat to dams in Gujarat

EARTHQUAKE RAVAGED Gujarat faces monsoon flooding this summer unless emergency repairs are made to dams cracked by the recent quake, according to a leading UK earthquake specialist.

Nine earth dams in the region could be breached when the monsoon rain arrives in July, said Dr Gopal Madabushi of the Institution of Structural Engineers' Earthquake Engineering Field Investigation Team (EEFIT).

A powerful quake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale, followed by another measuring 7.9, struck the Gujarat region in January causing widespread damage.

Severe cracks have developed in the clay core and the rip-rap outer shell of stones and boulders has subsided badly at the Rudra Matha, Tappa, Fatehgadh and Kafawathi dams inspected by a recent EEFIT mission.

'Damage to the earth dams has been immense, and urgent repairs are needed before the onset of monsoon rains, ' said Madabushi.

He told a recent ICE meeting that the EEFIT mission also discovered that soil liquifaction was widespread in inland Gujurat despite the low water table.

'The landscape is dotted with sand boils up to 6m in diameter, ' said Madabushi. 'It usually happens in little pockets but it was quite widespread. Earthquake forces were strong enough to bring water to the surface from a long way down. This is unique.'

In coastal areas liquifaction had caused significant damage to four bridges, two railway lines, two highways and two ports.

Production had also stopped at the Sikka cement works near Jamnagar where a 70m high cement silo collapsed.

Find out more on EEFIT at www. cen. bris. ac. uk

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