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27 Dec, 2006 02:56

The Russian Far East is in serious seismic danger

The Russian Far East is in serious seismic danger

Scientists at the Institute of Volcanology warn that an earthquake measuring 9 on the Richter scale is possible on thw Sakhalin, Kamchatka and Kuril islands, within the next 5 years.

According to the Emergencies Ministry, more than 200 earthquakes shook the area this year alone, killing nearly 400 people.

Such natural disasters can also damage oil and gas infrastructures in the region. 

The number of tremors has risen threefold in the Russian Far East since 2005. 

Aleksey Kokorin, a World Wildlife Fund representative in Russia, says natural causes as well as human factors are to blame.

“Increasing climate changes are likely to bring more rains and storms, and the combination of  both could be catastrophic under certain circumstances. The danger is especially  for people living in low areas close to the sea. So it is better to get ready in advance. We all remember that two years ago it was the poor information system that became one of the main reasons for the large-scale catastrophe in South-East Asia,” Mr Kokorin remarked.

In his opinion, particular attention should be paid to all activities likely to affect the region’s natural balance.

“As for the Kuril islands, it is a rule that any construction work there is carried out keeping in mind the specific seismic conditions. However, this year we saw Sakhalin Energy violating some ecological norms. So it is quite possible that in the course of its activities in the region the company has neglected some of the seismic requirements as well. In this respect, I think it is necessary and  high time to check Sakhalin Energy for compliance with seismic norms, ” Mr Kokorin added.