BY :TANVEER JAFRI : Haiti, a small Caribbean country, had to experience the nature’s fury when on January 13; a strong earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 rocked its capital Port au Prince. This earthquake is being termed as one of the deadliest natural disasters ever happened. The epicentre of this quake was just 25 kilometres away from the capital, Port au Prince with a focus at just 13 kilometres below the surface. Hitherto, the earthquake in 16th century China was termed as the most devastating which killed over 0.8 million people. The exact number of casualties in Haiti is not clear as the entire capital is in rubbles. The homes, government offices and buildings, Parliament and the buildings of the UN, hospitals etc., all are destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of people are assumed to be still buried under the debris. According to initial estimates, death toll has reached somewhere 50000-100000 people. It is estimated that after the clearance of debris, this number may reach 0.4-0.5 million.
The US President Barack Obama has announced that his country has initiated its biggest ever relief operation. British Queen Elizabeth has also expressed grief and concern for the people of Haiti and announced help. Though the entire world is standing for the help of Haiti but this calamity has created many obstacles in providing relief material. Roads, communication and transport system has collapsed. The airport of Haiti is already overcrowded by the relief planes. The US has sent three big ships, packed with complete hospitals and other relief amenities, to Haiti.
Another unfortunate thing about this disaster is that the above data and figures are only for the capital Port au Prince. Estimates are that similar devastation might have also happened in the areas ranging 50-100 kilometres around the capital. Since after the earthquake, the contacts of the capital with other regions have broken, therefore the extent of loss at other places is not clear. Everywhere there are debris of buildings and unaccounted dead bodies. This earthquake has once again sparked the debate that why the scientists, who boast of predicting the activities of the universe, are not able to predict the things happening beneath their feet.
After tsunami of 2004, the scientists were apparently awakened. For some time, rhetoric was that the scientists would work seriously in the direction of forecasting the natural disasters like Tsunami and earthquakes. While expert in bringing out new truths about the universe, moon, mars and galaxies, the science seems to be failing in case of the earth’s interior. Though the same science is successful in telling the intensity, magnitude, epicentre and focus of the earthquake after it has happened, but our scientists are still lagging in predicting such earthquakes.
How should we see the working of the scientists? In the entire universe, the life is known to be present only on the earth. Reports regarding life on other celestial bodies are unconfirmed and self-contradictory. What is the use of such expensive projects of scientists which are continuously adding to the ‘incredible’ facts regarding stars, planets and the universe, but are not able of collect complete information of the earth?
Last year, many great scientists of the world created a huge experimental machine named ‘Large Hadron Collider’. Just before the start of experiments in this machine situated on the French-Swiss border, there were rumours regarding loss to the earth by such experimentation. Just after the start, this machine was faced with a technical snag and it stopped functioning. The machine has started functioning again. Again, this machine was not made for predicting anything, instead it was made so as to understand the events involved in the creation of the universe and the earth.
No doubt, the scientists have made unimaginable progress in the fields of information, communication and technology. Scientists even have created an artificial human mind. It means now the human mind will probably not be dependent on God. Scientists have good command on weather forecast, information about the Solar and Lunar eclipses, prediction of accidents in the universe and control on the powerful laser technology etc. As for the prediction of the geological activities, the same scientists seem helpless.
By seeing the progress made by the scientists, it can’t be said that the future earthquakes would also be unpredicted. But until the science reaches that level, it would have to be recognised that the nature has stored many such treasures of information inside and outside the earth, which are still out of reach and out of imaginations of the scientists. And the same truth makes the human bow down before the might of the nature.