Bhutan’s lies in the Himalayas, where the ongoing tectonic collision between India and Tibet creates the potential for very large and damaging earthquakes. The entire country falls in seismic zone V, the highest earthquake risk zone. Since 1937, Bhutan has experienced 10 earthquakes of magnitude 6 or larger, including the most recent damaging earthquakes in 2009 and 2011.The last two events resulted in damages to 153 schools and an estimated loss of more than 650 million Ngultrums in the education sector alone. The Mongar earthquake of September 21, 2009, fortunately, fell on a religious holiday and children were not in schools during the earthquake. Similarly, the Sikkim earthquake on 18 September 2011 occurred on a Sunday evening and children were not present in schools.
GeoHazards Society has been working with the Department of Disaster Management for many years now in support from international agencies.
National Action Plan for Bhutan:
During a partnership initiative of Geohazards and GFDRR helped Government of Bhutan to formulate the National Action Plan for Earthquake Safety of Health Facilities & National Action Plan for School Earthquake Safety. A detailed description of the project is available here.
Annual Bhutan School Preparedness Drill 2013
GeoHazards Society (GHS) along with GeoHazards International partnered with Royal Government of Bhutan to organize a Mass Preparedness Drill in All Schools of Bhutan. On 20th September at 10:15 am all schools of Bhutan participated in an Earthquake Preparedness Drill as to commemorate the 4th anniversary of the Mongar earthquake (2009). This was first of its kind drill in the world where all schools of the entire nation participated. GHS provided technical support to the event which was administered by Ministry of Education and Department of Disaster Management of Bhutan and Geohazards staff with financial assistance from Embassy of the Czech Republic in New Delhi. Please click here for a brief report on the event.